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U.S. Manufacturers in Search of Factory Workers

An article on CNNMoney.com is reporting a new concern among U.S. factories: as they create new jobs, owners can’t find skilled workers to fill them.

In the article, Rob Akers, vice president at the National Tooling and Machining Association, explained that there is a critical shortage of machinists, a common and critical position in factories. He said,
“Enrollment in this field in technical schools has been down for a long time.” One reason seems to be that young Americans haven’t been considering a job in manufacturing.

As domestic contract manufacturers are experiencing a boom in business from customers in the defense and aerospace industries, factory owners are hard-pressed to find skilled manual machinists, quality control inspectors, and machinists trained to use computer-controlled systems. Although there are so many unemployed workers now, not all have the needed skill set for this type of work.

With the U.S. outsourcing many manufacturing jobs over the last few decades, the article points out that the country lost a large chunk of its manufacturing talent pool. Mitch Free, CEO of MFG.com, said, “Now, as manufacturing is slowly coming back, we just don’t have this talent quickly available.”

Free added, “This is also a highly technical craft. It requires knowledge of computers, programming, even geometry. You can’t hire someone off the street and turn them into a machinist.”

We’ll be anxious to see how this trend develops.