Tags: US | Factories | Skilled | Workers

CNN Money: US Factories Desperate for Skilled Workers

By    |   Thursday, 16 February 2012 02:21 PM

U.S. factories are creating jobs, but according to CNN Money, owners are struggling to find American workers to fill the positions. The problem isn't a shortage of applicants but rather a lack of qualified candidates.

For example, Dennis Winslow, owner of Win-Tech, needs to fill 12 positions. "There are so many unemployed people in the country but I can't find the skill sets that I need," he told CNN Money. "I would hire tomorrow if I could."

The Journal Sentinel Online reported that President Barack Obama was in Milwaukee this week highlighting an “in sourcing” initiative that would push a series of domestic job creation policies, including tax breaks for companies that create jobs here and tax disincentives for companies that continue to engage in outsourcing.

If the president's campaign is successful, it could result in millions of job openings.

But, the Journal Sentinel Online reported that this possibility casts light on one of Wisconsin's most emergent and glaring problems: a skill gap.

The problem isn't limited to one state or sector. Many manufacturers have reported problems finding qualified workers.

Experts have offered several explanations for why the skills shortage exists.

Some say younger Americans are showing a declining interest in manufacturing so the skills are being lost as baby boomers retire. Some believe when jobs started going overseas people saw less incentives for entering trades related to manufacturing.

Mitch Free, CEO of MFG.com — which matches businesses with domestic manufacturers — told CNN Money that "as manufacturing jobs come back, we just don't have the talent quickly available."

The skill shortage threatens to impose mounting operational and financial consequences. Some manufacturers are reportedly struggling to meet their current production needs. That means that increasing production will be an even greater challenge.

The American Association of Community Colleges estimates that a company with 1,000 employees could lose $11 million per year due to a skilled worker shortage, the Journal Sentinel Online reports.

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