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What the surge in Manufacturing means for skilled labor

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"A recent survey by ThomasNet.com demonstrates that nearly half of 1,600 manufacturing companies surveyed are having difficulty filling open positions for skilled labor. As a result, many companies …

"A recent survey by ThomasNet.com demonstrates that nearly half of 1,600 manufacturing companies surveyed are having difficulty filling open positions for skilled labor. As a result, many companies are helping educators create job training programs for young people that will prepare a new generation for the demands of a skilled industrial workforce."

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  • 1. MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2013WHAT THE SURGE IN MANUFACTURINGMEANS FOR SKILLED LABOR By Ryan Galloway That shortage is not likely to abate in the near BMO Harris Contributor, BMO HarrisBank term, and in fact, it’s likely to get significantly worse. A global study by McKinsey & Company pre-While almost every economic sector in the U.S. is dicts a need for 95 million skilled workers by 2020,either engaged in a slow slog out of the recession while simultaneously anticipating a surplus of low-or still floundering outright, two sectors are indi- skill workers that reaches the same heady number.cating healthy — and unexpected — growth. From White Collar to Blue CollarHousing and manufacturing have both shownmarked improvements over the past year, surpris- It would seem that a dramatic re-skilling is in order.ing market watchers who believed that housing was The past several decades have seen thewell into a long period of dormancy and that man- United States and most other developed na-ufacturing in the U.S. had permanently decamped tions engaged in a breakneck race to funnel asfor cheaper pastures. This is generally good (or many young people into four-year baccalaureategreat) news … unless your particular housing or programs as possible. The goals for this franticmanufacturing concern is looking to hire skilled pursuit were varied, but in an era of increasedworkers anytime soon. automation — and increased consumption —Skilled labor is at crisis-level shortages both at the proverbial chickens have come home to roost.home and abroad, with over 10 million skilled In 2012 the U.S. boasted that a record 30% of itslabor jobs remaining vacant worldwide. adult population held a bachelor’s degree. In the coming decade, it’s likely that many in that 30% will be looking to abandon the search for increas- ingly rare white-collar jobs and repackage their skill sets to take advantage of the need for savvy blue-collar talent. The Push for Trade Education Of course, some companies and educational in- stitutions are ahead of the curve. A recent survey by ThomasNet.com demonstrates that nearly half of 1,600 manufacturing companies surveyed are having difficulty filling open positions for skilled labor. As a result, many companies are helping educators create job training programs for young people that will prepare a new generation for the demands of a skilled industrial workforce. FORBES 1
  • 2. MONDAY, JANUARY 14, 2013But these aren’t your grandfather’s trade- and Instead, it requires combining considerable tech-tech-schools. As Ira Wolfe, owner of Success nical acumen with the wherewithal to get one’sPerformance Solutions, recently told Bloomberg hands dirty, a sensibility that isn’t always so easyBusiness News, “The trades are not just about to find.swinging a hammer any more; they involve apply- For the American manufacturing investor oring brainpower and advanced education.” owner, establishing a skills and training programIndeed, technical education has become more for the next generation of workers is akin to sow-specialized and demanding than ever before. At ing your seeds before the harvest season arrives.a time when highly technical machines like CNC It’s necessary, it’s forward-thinking, and it justtools are standard — and would have baffled plain makes sense.even the most skilled workers a generation ago —working in the trades is no longer about having astrong back. FORBES 2