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As Manufacturing Rebounds, More Skilled Workers are Needed
Posted by Tasha Weiss on February 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM.

In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, President Obama highlighted several manufacturing initiatives and touted the growth of 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the past three years, but warned about the major skills gap in the industry:


“None of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs…let’s also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges, so those German kids, they’re ready for a job when they graduate high school.”


A new survey of 199 metalworking manufacturers published by One Voice, the joint federal advocacy program of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), underscores the severity of the skilled worker shortage in the U.S.


In fact, the survey showed that while 69% of surveyed manufacturers currently have job openings and many anticipate workforce and sales increases this year, 91% of these metalworking manufacturers struggle to find qualified employees.


The manufacturers, who averaged 77 employees in 2012 (compared to 69 employees in 2011), supply components, tools and other products and services to the agriculture, aerospace, appliance, automotive, defense, electronics, energy, medical, transportation and other industries.


New worker recruitment is crucial to avoid a net shortage of skilled manufacturing workers in the coming years. One of the challenges is that many students today don’t realize there are advanced educational and training programs and good-paying career opportunities available in the trades.


To address the challenge of recruiting qualified employees, respondents reported their use of several different tactics such as working directly with high schools, community colleges or vocational institutions and using industry training centers.


To learn more about One Voice and the skilled worker shortage, visit

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