One of the most daunting challenges facing U.S. manufacturing in the next decade is the “skills gap,” the lack of qualified, trained workers to fill new positions. One story out of North Carolina this week highlights just how pressing of an issue the skills gap can be.
Manufacturing company Ingersoll-Rand, whose product line includes Club Car golf carts, Thermo King refrigerators and Trane air conditioners, employs about 2,000 local workers in Davidson, North Carolina. They also have nearly 1,000 open positions, some of which pay more than $100,000.
They are having trouble finding people to fill them:
The main cause of that is the so-called skills gap, CEO Michael Lamach said in a recent interview at the company’s headquarters. The term refers to a shortage of workers with the necessary technical skills to handle machinery, perform service on the equipment and use advanced technology, among other functions.
It’s a perplexing thing, too, since the jobs are often high-paying and usually don’t require a college degree, Lamach said. Commercial technicians at Ingersoll-Rand, for instance, can make up to $105,000 without having attended a four-year university.
“Most parents, I think, will coach their kids to go to college, and in doing so, are not thinking about some of the vocational areas,” he said.
Ingersoll-Rand’s story is yet another reminder of the uphill climb many manufacturers are experiencing as they grow and seek out a skilled workforce.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has made closing the skills gap a top priority. Our Creators Wanted campaign, launched earlier this year, is a manufacturing-backed initiative to educate policymakers about the issues facing manufacturing, change public perceptions about the industry, share stories and encourage students to consider careers in modern manufacturing.
Excited to announce we're launching the latest round of our #CreatorsWanted campaign with Mahindra!Modern manufacturers will be hiring millions of American workers like Kurt in the next decade. It's up to us to inspire the next generation and close the skills gap –> http://bit.ly/2hJtiWt
Posted by National Association of Manufacturers on Friday, November 17, 2017
Learn more about the NAM’s Creators Wanted campaign here.
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