One of the trends in this ‘jobless’ recovery from the Great Recession is the noticeable skills gap that impacts many industries today. At Nesco Resource, we sometimes struggle to match available employees to the specific job requirements outlined by our clients. In the Cleveland market near our corporate HQ, this skills gap is clear and concerning to many in the manufacturing sector. No longer can we call the required skills simply as ‘blue-collar’ or ‘unskilled labor’ or expect that employers can carry the burden of training people up to perform tasks required.
Astro Manufacturing & Design is facing this challenge. This major supplier to the aerospace industry has a major challenge filling skilled labor positions and this profile of employee David Slamic from The Plain Dealer starkly illustrates the problem. Robert L. Smith writes:
Astro executives not only hired [Slamic], they asked if he could bring in 10 more young people like himself. Slamic, who makes more than $20 an hour as a machinist, said he could not bring even one.
“My friends, they’ve got a false perception,” he said, as a $300,000 computer-driven lathe thrummed gently behind him. “They think it’s a dirty job, factory work. They don’t actually know what it’s like.”
As noted in the following article, the Northeast Ohio area is combining efforts from the Business Attraction group Team NEO, local Community colleges and industry groups like the Alliance for Working Together to help close this gap and strengthen our workforce to meet the challenges of the coming decade. By starting early in the education process to be sure that basic skills are taught, and with specific courses in secondary education tuned to local industry needs, the challenge faced today will be overcome. It is heartening to see the combined efforts at many levels of the community and industry working hand-in-hand to bridge the gap and bring a solution to bear.