Manufacturers Say Open Jobs Require More Skills Than Available Workers Have.The website EconomyWatch.com (7/22) examined why manufacturers say that they cannot find the right people to hire. Baiju R. Shah, head of BioEnterprise, a Cleveland nonprofit "trying to turn the region into a center for medical innovation," says, "The people that areout of work just dont match the types of jobs that are here, open and growing." Cleveland "has added 4,500 positions" since the beginning of the year, but in nontraditional areas. One company, Ben Venue, which makes drugs on contract for pharmaceutical companies, "has recruited about half its new factory hires from outside the pool of former manufacturing workers." At Astro Manufacturing and Design, which makes parts and devices for aerospace, medical and military industries in the Cleveland area, "an outsiderecruiter has reviewed 50 résumés in the last month and come up empty" for jobs that pay $18-23 per hour but "require considerable technical skill."
Factory Jobs Returning, But Employers Struggling With Skills Shortage. The New York Times (7/2, A1, Rich) reports on its front page, "Factory owners have been adding jobs slowly but steadily since the beginning of the year, giving a lift to the fragileeconomic recovery. And because they laid off so many workers...manufacturers now have a vast pool of people to choose from." However, "some of these employers complain that they cannot fill their openings," pointing to "a mismatch between the kind of skilled workers needed and the ranks of the unemployed." This is partly due to domesticmanufacturers having "accelerated the long-term move toward greater automation" as they outsourced and laid off workers. "Now they are looking to hire people who can operatesophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints and demonstrate higher math proficiency than was previously required of the typical assembly line worker."
British Columbia Suffers From Shortage Of Skilled Workers.The Vancouver Sun (6/26) reported, "a looming labour shortage and dwindling number of skilled workers immigrating to B.C. mean the province will be forced to" begin depending on "immigrants to fill about one in three job openings, according to the recently released British Columbia Labour Market Outlook: 2009-2019. At the same time, the number of skilled workers immigrating to the province appears to have hit a 15-year low." The Sun noted that "About15,100 skilled workers settled in the province last year, based on BC Stats numbers and provincialgovernment targets. Its the lowest total since 1994." "Immigration is the key to future economic growth in B.C.," said Moira Stilwell, the minister in charge of labour market development. "Even though the economy has slowed down, skilled labour shortages remain." Lack Of Skilled Workers Affecting South Australia. Australias Adelaidenow (6/27) reported the motor industry "are finding it increasingly difficult to find skilled workers," but notes that "more than half its employers will take on additional tradesmen and apprentices in the next 12 months." Additionally, "The industry warns that to pay skilled workers and take on more apprentices, the industry and the public would have to look at paying more to repair modernvehicles." The survey showed 51% of employers may take on new tradesmen and apprentices in the next 12 months – a rise from 43% in 2009.
Whirlpool Shuts Down Factory In Evansville, Indiana.The AP (6/25) reported, "Hundreds of people worked their final shifts Friday at a Whirlpool Corp. refrigerator factory in southern Indiana that has been the site of protests over its closure." The plants production line was shutting down after 54 years, leaving 600 workers without jobs. An additional 450 employees were laid off in March when Whirlpool decided to end its second production shift. Whirlpool announced last year "that it would shut down the factory and move production to Mexico. Whirlpool will still have a presence in the city, with 300 employees at its refrigeration design center." The AP noted "months of protests over the closing plans didnt change the decision, which executives of the Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company said was needed to reduce costs and streamline its operations."
Factory Jobs Return, but Employers Find Skills Shortage Source: The New York Times - July 1, 2010Factory owners have been adding jobs slowly but steadily since the beginning of the year, giving a lift to the fragile economic recovery. Because they laid off so many workers -- more than two million since the end of 2007 -- manufacturers now have a vast pool of people to choosefrom. Yet some of these employers complain that they cannot fill their openings. Although plenty of people are applying for the jobs, the problem is a mismatch between the kind of skilled workers needed and the ranks of the unemployed.
Is a worker shortage on the horizon? With millions of unemployed people across the country struggling to find work, it may seem unbelievable that a worker shortage could develop within 10 years as baby boomers reach traditional retirement age. That is the predicted trend, according to a report published by the MetLife Foundation and San Francisco-based Civic Ventures, a think tank focusing on baby boomers, work and social purpose. “When the nation comes out of the current jobs recession — and this may take two to three years — we will begin to see spot shortages in labor markets,” according to the report. “If the economy continues to improve, the spot shortages will become more general, and we will experience the shortages our research projects.” By analyzing government labor and population trend data, and taking into consideration thatbaby boomers are expected to retire later than previous generations, the report indicates there would be 3.3 million to 4 million vacant jobs. Source: MarketWatch.com, March 22, 2010
Manufacturers Partner With University Of Phoenix To Create Manufacturing Skills Curriculum. IndustryWeek (3/18) reports, "Progress toward a manufacturing certification program gained strength after the NAM and the University of Phoenix said...they have partnered to develop curriculum aimed at developing manufacturing skills." The program "will be designed to alignwith the NAM-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System. The University of Phoenix willoffer programs that enable manufacturing workers to advance in their careers while acquiring theskills and competencies required for certification, which was developed by NAMs education and research arm The Manufacturing Institute." Last year, "nearly 12 million Americans worked directly in manufacturing -- about 10% of the overall workforce." The Phoenix Business Journal (3/18) reports, "University of Phoenix is working with thenonprofit Manufacturing Institute to develop curriculum designed to prepare students for careersin the industry." Through the partnership, the university "will offer programs that enable working students to advance in their careers with an emphasis on strategic planning and new technologies to help ensure that the manufacturing sector stays current and competitive in a global market."
Amid Waning Job Openings, A Shortage Of Skilled Workers. The CBS Evening News (8/11, story 12, 2:30, Hill) reported that "there are more signs theeconomy is slowing again, including this one. There were 60,000 fewer job openings in June than the month before, which means there are now five unemployed workers competing for every one job." However, "there are jobs to be had for skilled workers." CBS (Bowers) added, "By theyear 2012, its estimated this country will be three million skilled workers short. And its not just in the manufacturing sector. 22% of American businesses, according to a recent survey, said theyre ready to hire if they could find the right people."
• Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky Manufacturers Could Face Skilled Labor Shortage.• The Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer (9/6, Boyer) reported, "Nearly 38,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky over the past 10 years, but this industry is far from dying. ... Manufacturers are producing airplane parts, vinyl windows, prefab bridges, burial caskets and movie-theater popcorn machines. Employment is starting to creep back up," and "employers are promoting high-tech positions that can pay up to $25 an hour, with excellent fringe benefits." Manufacturers note that "their main challenge is not a loss of work, but finding sufficient new workers with specialized, high-tech skills. Unless significant gains are made, the industry that helped build the Midwest faces a future labor shortage caused by the exodus of aging employees and an outdated image of unskilled factory work."
• Technology, Training Both Key Aspects Of Advanced Manufacturing.• IndustryWeek (9/22, Katz) reports, "Manufacturers are using a combination of technologies, processes and education to promote a new era of US manufacturing that cant be easily replicated by competitors." While advanced manufacturing has "been used loosely to explain any number of methods that take manufacturing operations to another level not easily replicated by competitors," IndustryWeek points to a definition from the Anderson Economic Group classifying it as operations that "create advanced products, use innovative techniques in their manufacturing, and are inventing new processes and technologies for future manufacturing." Experts note that other factors play a part. "Steven Dwyer, president and CEO of advanced-manufacturing consortium Conexus Indiana, includes continuous-improvement principles such as lean manufacturing." Skilled worker shortages are also an issue, and Dwyer said the consortium is "enlisting area manufacturers to help develop an advanced-manufacturing curriculum for area high schools and colleges."
• Blue-Collar Workers May Face Bleak Future.• In a 4,000-word feature article, Reuters (9/16) reports on the "long- term unemployed," particularly the middle-class, blue collar factory and construction workers that represented a significant portion of the population of states like Michigan. According to many experts, the jobs of this type that were lost in the recession are unlikely to come back when the economy picks up again. "Its competitive forces and technology that (are) taking those jobs and reducing them in both quantity and complexity," explained Manpower CEO Jeff Joerres. As a result, the jobs that do return will likely either be poorly paid, or require specific technical skills. The article profiles some workers who are facing long-term unemployment. It also notes that some companies have been critical of the government response to the crisis, arguing that job creation should have been a larger priority, and that infrastructure projects should have been better funded.
• Future Hiring Expected To Split Between Highly Skilled And Service Industry Jobs.• The AP (9/6, Rugaber, Liedtke) reported, "Whenever companies start hiring freely again, job-seekers with specialized skills and education will have plenty of good opportunities. Others will face a choice: Take a job with low pay - or none at all." According to some economists predictions, new jobs will be created in these two categories in "roughly equal numbers," while the outlook for jobs falling between these two categories is "bleaker," with "fewer moderately paid factory supervisors, postal workers and office administrators." Those jobs projected "to grow fastest, according to economists and government projections," include those in healthcare, information technology and "new industries," such as predictive analytics. Experts noted that technology is a powerful but unpredictable economic driver, and that until there is more "clarity on what the next big thing is going to be," job seekers may "have to lower expectations and living standards as they enter fields with less pay and less job stability."
• Manufacturing Faces "Schizophrenic Attitude" In The US. In his Washington Post (8/31) column, Ezra Klein wrote that during research for an article several years ago he found that manufacturing "was caught in transition between its past glory as the provider of good, upwardly mobile, blue- collar jobs, and its future as a smaller, high-skills, high-tech industry. The problem was that the collapse of low-skill manufacturing had scared off the talent needed for high- skill manufacturing," and the US lost manufacturing jobs on both ends of the talent spectrum. He notes a recent blog post by Kathleen Fasanella in which she laments Americas "schizophrenic attitude about manufacturing," at once celebrating factories and thinking they "are terrible places."
• Lack Of Skilled Workers Could Slow Recovery, Manpower Survey Finds.• American Public Medias Marketplace (8/25, Radke, Genzer) reported, "We got a new report today from the employment agency Manpower that says skilled workers like carpenters, electricians and plumbers are in very short supply," despite the decline in home construction. "Its actually a worldwide problem," and due in part to the fact that "the skilled trades have an image problem." The Manpower survey "found that a lack of skilled tradesman was the number one hiring challenge for the US and five other leading industrialized countries." Clark University business professor Gary Chaison "says construction firms and other businesses are also having a hard time finding" skilled workers, and the "shortage will just get worse as the economy starts to recover and companies become more interested in hiring."• MLive.com (8/26, Headapohl) reports that Manpowers 2010 Talent Shortage Survey named "the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Brazil" as some of the countries "where employers ranked skilled trades as their number one or number two hiring challenge." Manpower CEO Jeff Joerres said, "Inadequate training and negative stereotypes relating to skilled trades are further fueling a dangerous shortage of skilled workers. ... Employers and governments need to bring honor back to the skilled trades." The report "recommends a strategic migration policy as a short-term solution to ensure that enough workers are available to complete key projects. It also recommends promoting the skilled trades in order to plug the talent gap."• Reuters (8/26, Zieminski) quotes Joerres as saying that the skilled labor shortage will become "a real choke-point in future economic growth." The International Business Times (8/26, Li) reports, "The skilled labor shortage is not limited to developed countries, however. The apparent shortage in large developing countries like China, India, and Brazil may impede the progress of infrastructure projects and jeopardize national growth, said Manpower." The Milwaukee Business Journal (8/26) also reports the story.
• High Unemployment Attributed To Labor Supply Disconnect. Rana Foroohar, writing for Newsweek (9/25), says that "even as it took more than a year to figure out that the recession was over, it will now take many more...to ferret out why unemployment still remains at historic highs even as the economy is growing once more. ... A new report by London-based Capital Economics says that supply problems -- the workers who need jobs are in the wrong states, and the wrong fields -- could be responsible for nearly a third of Americas unemployment rate." Some "sectors of the economy are growing strongly -- including health and education -- but they cant find enough workers, in part because wages have historically been too low to attract new talent. While that mismatch may help teachers and nurses negotiate better pay packages, it wont help bring down unemployment rates among builders and machinists."
• Robotics Industry May Grow By $100 Billion Over Next Two Decades.• According to TMCnet (9/28, Tuttle), two decades ago, "robotics was thought to be more of a hobby for technology companies rather than a field with any real potential. Today, the robotics space is a $6 billion industry in the US alone." Meanwhile, a number of other countries are currently considering "artificial intelligence, advanced machinery and advanced material sciences to be major staples of their economy." Inside the Bay Area recently reported that "over the next two decades, the industry is expected to grow by another $100 billion."
• Companies Looking For Employees With Multiple Skills.• The AP (10/11) reports, "The jobs crisis has brought an unwelcome discovery for many unemployed Americans: Job openings in their old fields exist. Yet they no longer qualify for them." This is "a trend that took root during the recession. Companies became more productive by doing more with fewer workers. Some asked staffers to take on a broader array of duties - duties that used to be spread among multiple jobs."
• Nashville To See Worker Shortage In A Few Years, According To Study.• The Nashville (TN) Business Journal (10/1, Hieb) reports, "Nashville will experience a worker shortage starting in the middle of this decade, according to a report. .. The shortage will be caused by retiring baby boomers, a smaller crop of workers to replace them, and continued job growth." The study "projects that unemployment will return to pre-recession levels in 2015 or 2016. By 2019, the study projects there will be 23,688 more jobs than there will be workers to fill them. Professional and business services, health care and financial activities are expected to experience the most growth, with manufacturing continuing to decline." The report calls on "schools and policymakers to guide more people to careers in health care, information technology and engineering."
• Firm Starts Own School To Secure Trained Workforce.• NPR s (11/16, Arnold) "All Things Considered" reported, "Some experts say employers are having trouble finding qualified people for too many" of the three million "job openings across the country." Experts "say the problem is that technology is outpacing the countrys current approach to educating and training workers." Carl Pasciuto, president of the Custom Group, pointed out, "People have an image of a dark, smoky factory with a dirt floor with metal parts flying everywhere." But "todays advanced manufacturing facilities like Custom Groups factory look more like well-lit, clean airplane hangars full of super-high-tech equipment." To address the need for a trained workforce, Custom Group has "started its own training school." Todd DellaPorta, the lead instructor of the school, "says the students education levels and work experience are all over the map, but most are doing well."
• Connecticut Launches Project To Encourage Students Toward Manufacturing Careers.• The Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer (12/11, French) reported, "The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology in East Hartford and Rep. John B. Larson, D-1st District, on Friday kicked off the states participation in a national program to encourage students to consider jobs in manufacturing." According to Larson, "The Dream It, Do It program was started by the National Association of Manufacturers and is aimed at addressing the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers. ... The initiative strives to help students understand educational paths available to obtain skills that lead to good-paying careers in manufacturing and related businesses to strengthen our regional economy, he said."
• Manufacturers Report Difficulties Finding Workers In Ohio.• The Dayton Daily News (8/21, Gnau) reported that "state and local manufacturing industry insiders report" difficulties "finding workers with basic work skills or even a simple desire to work hard at a time when manufacturing in Ohio is rebounding." Michael van Haaren, president and chief operating officer of Troys Stillwater Technologies Inc, said, "To find young folks interested in the manufacturing and machine tool trade, with skills and a good work ethic, is getting difficult." John Gajewski, executive director of manufacturing for the Workforce and Economic Development Division of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, said, "We in manufacturing need to do a better job of communicating the opportunities that are available in manufacturing, and we need our public partners to assist in that."• The Middletown (OH) Journal (8/22, Gnau, Sedlak) reports, "Manufacturers say they are grappling with three challenges, all being felt at about the same time: Advancing technology means companies need workers with greater skill and problem-solving ability. Older workers, many of them baby boomers, are retiring in increasing numbers. And during the recent recession, many manufacturers admit they simply let too many workers go." Gajewski estimates that about "200,000 replacement workers will be needed for Ohio manufacturing jobs in the next five years, as older workers retire. He believes it will take a partnership of community colleges, universities, businesses and government to begin to fill that gap."
• Caterpillar CEO: Not Enough Skilled Workers.• Reuters (9/13) reports Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said that the company is struggling to find technical, engineering service technicians and other workers for its manufacturing operations. Oberhelman said that the company has to retrain every person it hires
Manufacturing Becoming Younger, More Skilled.• The St. Cloud (MN) Times (10/23) reported, "Manufacturers face an aging workforce, the trades increasingly require higher education and many young people also have relatively weak interest in manufacturing jobs." Also, manufacturing "battles a reputation for low-paying work involving dull and repetitive tasks. Altering that image could be the main hurdle to US companies competing in the world market." The Times noted, "According to the National Association of Manufacturers, average compensation for a manufacturing job in Minnesota in 2009 was above the states average for nonfarm work."
Manufacturers In Texas Having Trouble Finding Workers.• On its website, KXAS-TV (10/22, Ross) reported, "Manufacturing businesses say they are having trouble finding potential employees with the right skill sets. The unemployment rate in Texas hovers at about 8.5 percent, but the manufacturing industry has plenty of job vacancies." The report noted that "according to national survey by Deloitte LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, 67 percent of manufacturers are seeing a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers."
• Workers Laid Off During The Recession Do Not Possess The Skills That Employers Need• The San Antonio Express-News (12/7) reports, "During the recession, the collective US employer somehow advanced technologically beyond what the workforce is able to provide." Workers "who lost their jobs do not possess the skills employers now require to remain competitive." The Express-News notes that Rey Chavez, the president and CEO of the San Antonio Manufacturers Association, "said the National Association of Manufacturers is talking increasingly about the need for employers to train people on the job instead of waiting for skilled workers to apply."
Governor Wants Mississippians To Look At NewApproaches To Improve Education• The AP (12/9) reports, "Gov. Haley Barbour said Thursday he wants Mississippians to look at new approaches to improve education, including more opportunities for job training instead of bachelors degrees and the involvement of churches to help prevent struggling students from dropping out of high school." Emily DeRocco, president of the Manufacturing Institute, called on Mississippi "to widen opportunities for nationally recognized training certificates. She said that a survey by her group shows 600,000 factory jobs are unfilled because manufacturers now need higher-skilled workers to compete worldwide."
Manufacturing Careers A Hard Sell To Texas Teenagers• The Houston Chronicle reports that, "as important as it is, manufacturing is a hard sell to teens thinking about careers." Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research for the Greater Houston Partnership, "is predicting that manufacturing will be among the fastest-growing sectors in Houston next year, thanks to the resurgence in domestic drilling and demand from emerging markets for oil field equipment, plastics and chemicals." Kathy Housel, director of the school of continuing education at Houston Community College, said that many "students shy away from industrial education because of pressures from home."
Manufacturers Facing A Shortage OfSkilled MachinistsOn its website, FOX News (12/16) reports on theshortage of machinists in the US. The reportnotes that a study conducted by the NationalAssociation of Manufacturers found that thelargest impediment to future economic growthis a skilled workforce.