Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MN Has A Shortage of Skilled Manufacturing Workers. Maybe That's a Good Problem To Have

ST. PAUL, MN - "Nearly half of Minnesota manufacturers responding to a survey say they haven't filled positions because they lack qualified job candidates, according to a new study by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

"State manufacturers have openings, but Minnesotans who are looking for work often don't have the right skills to fill them," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "As we observe Minnesota Manufacturers Week, it's a good time to stress the importance of aligning manufacturers' needs with workforce training."

The biggest shortages were found in skilled production (58 percent of those responding), followed by jobs for scientists and engineers (40 percent of respondents). Shortages were not as severe for jobs in low-skilled production, management and administration, and customer service."

MP: With more and more manufacturing production returning to the U.S. through "reshoring," it's possible we'll see more of these shortages of skilled manufacturing workers, and maybe that's a good problem to have.  It will certainly create lots of opportunities for community colleges and other programs to provide the necessary worker training, and lots of opportunities for Americans to pursue careers in manufacturing during the pending "renaissance of U.S. manufacturing." 


At 10/25/2011 7:46 PM, Blogger juandos said...

It could be argued that Minnesota has more than a 'shortage of skilled workers' problem if one considers Keith Ellison and Al Franken...

At 10/26/2011 5:31 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

The lack of "Skilled Worker" complaints are just one huge canard. There's no shortage of workers, just a shortage of companies willing to do OJT.

Why is it OK for companies to ask for sacrifices, but it's a cardinal sin if they actually have to reciprocate? There's nothing wrong with aligning the companies with the people that are around - as it is a long term investment.

At 10/26/2011 9:05 AM, Blogger Hoosierman said...

I followed the construction business for half my working life and spot shortages are more the norm than the exception. For instance, a major dam or bridge project requires several dozen boat operators. If projects such as that are spaced out 20 years apart people die, move on, or retire. Should 50 electrical power plants be permitted tomorrow there would be moaning about a lack of experienced iron workers, boiler makers, pipe fitters, pile drivers, carpenters, crane operators, insulators, etc and after the hand wringing they would all get built. When housing recovers we'll hear there aren't enough skilled carpenters to fill the jobs because some have retired or are working in the oil fields. Worse yet some contractors will make idiotic public statements about people not wanting to work and declining skill levels as if there supposed to an army of highly skilled workers patiently waiting unemployed to fill any vacancy that may occur. Politicians have picked up on the current shortages of manufacturing skills and stupidly bemoan the education system which supposedly exists to turn out machine operators and die makers when needed before shifting to dry wall finishers and pipe fitters. How much money did the country spend on job training before it built the interstate highway system? Have we ever seen a housing boom go bust because it ran out of workers? Will the Bakken boom implode for want of experienced rig hands? The same hot air talking heads that pontificate on dynamic growth seem to live in a static world as far as labor is concerned. Skilled labor is like any other commodity. Use it or lose it.


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