News Spotlight: The Future of Manufacturing & Skills Gap



As millions of baby boomers enter retirement over the next decade, their exit from the workforce brings an undeniable and significant shortage of labor and skills. According to the Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, over the next decade nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs being unfilled.

This summer, our very own Joni George spoke to one solution to overcoming this skills gap that was featured in the July edition of Welding Journal discussing Overcoming Labor Shortages by ‘Growing Your Workforce.’

“Even though the economy was struggling in 2008, CLIMAX knew that by starting its training program in the middle of a major economic downturn, the company was making an investment in future generations, which also meant the company would be better positioned to respond to the growth opportunities following the market rebound,” said George. “One of the biggest gaps identified was in the development of essential life skills. Students were desperate for answers to questions such as, ‘How does one dress for work?’ ‘What does a 9-to-5 job actually entail?’ and ‘How do I file my taxes?’”

This article, along with other recent news coverage indicates that the future of manufacturing is still top-of-mind as 2015 draws to a close.

Check out our top three article picks from September:

    Labor force role reversal

The Register-Guard
September 14, 2015

As the economy heals, employers struggle to find workers with the right skills. The economic freeze that accompanied the Great Recession and lingered for years is continuing to thaw. Help wanted ads are increasing, more baby boomers are feeling optimistic enough about their financial futures to take the retirement plunge, and employers in certain sectors, including high tech, manufacturing and call centers, are upping their game to recruit and keep talented workers.

    Amid A Shortage Of Welders, Some Prisons Offer Training

September 7, 2015

America needs more welders — and soon. Baby boomers with the skill are retiring and not enough young people are replacing them. In the ’80s, when Flashdance brought us Alex the welding woman who really wanted to be a ballet dancer, America had well over half a million welders. Welding was hot. Today, there are about 40 percent fewer welders.

    The Growing Skills Gap in Manufacturing

Quality Magazine
September 1, 2015

Industry leaders battle an outdated perception of manufacturing work. Army Trail Road, in Chicago’s western suburbs, is dotted with metal fabrication plants — production facilities offering high-tech manufacturing jobs at living wages. Problem is, like the other manufacturing centers of the U.S., employers can’t find the skilled workers to fill the positions, and young people looking for work often don’t know the jobs exist.

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