Skilled Workforce Shortage Threatens American Manufacturing
Aug 27, 2010
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American manufacturers report a dire need for skilled labor, according to Gerald Shankel, president and CEO of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, and young peoples' lack of interest in manufacturing careers means the crisis is only going to get worse.

In an editorial debuting today on, Shankel Points to surveys showing that skilled manual trades are among the hardest to fill. One survey reported that, among companies involved in skilled production, more than half report shortages. Shortages are expected to worsen. The average age of today's workforce is 56, portending a wave of labor losses due to retirement, but very few young people are getting the education and skills training needed to enter this segment of the workforce.

“There’s no doubt that manufacturing has an image problem – especially among today’s youth,” Shankel writes. The reasons are many. Young people still think of manufacturing as hard labor in poor working conditions, where there's little challenge or chance for growth. Another big reason: kids simply are not introduced to the skilled trades any longer.

Shankel points to several programs underway to correct old manufacturing stereotypes. “Reaching educators is key to improving the future skilled workforce,” he says.

“The looming skilled-worker shortage is an unwelcome threat to the nation’s manufacturing base that needs to be addressed at multiple levels, from better educating the next generation of factory workers to improving the public’s image of plant work,” Shankel writes.

Read the entire editorial:
Highly-Skilled Workforce is Necessary for America's 21st Century Manufacturing

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