Figured that you may enjoy and can share this article I helped develop for the Courier Tribune below. With all of the noise and other idle chatter out there, the real solutions to our problems often get lost. That is why we need to continue to beat the drums in the media to develop more skills and get prepared for the real jobs of the today and tomorrow. Program seeks machinists, technicians ASHEBORO — What jobs provide security, compensation and solid futures? What careers can rebuild the Triad region’s economic future? The recent announcement of the Hyosong wire plant closing in Asheboro, which released more than 300 workers into the over-crowded job market, has caused many to be concerned about other potential end-of-year closings and question what careers are actually stable and which will generate good incomes. “Not all of the economic news in the Triad has been bad,” said Joel Leonard of Asheboro. He is the chairman of the National Defense Workforce Advisory Committee, a member of the United Nations Industrial Infrastructure Resource Committee, an adviser for the Council on Competitiveness and the founder of SkillTV. “There are two exciting ventures going on in Kernersville. Caterpillar has opened an axle fabrication operation and will need 90 more machinists by 2014. On Oct. 5, Deere-Hitachi announced a future expansion of more than 340 jobs for welders and machinists.” There’s more. “Honda Jet, in Greensboro, announced the future formation of the Maintenance and Repair operation that will need more than 200 technicians. TIMCO still continues to add dozens of maintenance repair technician for their growing aviation repair business,” he said. Why is there such a need for machinists and technicians? He explained that despite all of the local closings, there has been an increase in the need for smaller machine shops and other types of support businesses to develop new components for the new billion dollar Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga and other companies such as the new Siemens Turbine Operation in Charlotte which employs 1,250 machinists; Boeing Charleston Operation in South Carolina which has already hired 1,000 workers; and the future Airbus Assembly operation in Huntsville, Ala., which will hire at least 1,000 new workers. Larger manufacturing operations need numerous suppliers to provide them metal finishing, maintenance repair and operational parts. With the new Fed-Ex hub in Greensboro, the Piedmont Triad can more easily, than in the past, support companies throughout the Southeast and other parts of the world. He feels North Carolina has been very fortunate to have logistics, aviation and advanced manufacturing clusters set up operation and flourish in North Carolina. “However, the big stumbling block is that the advanced technology requires a higher level skill set to not only operate the new machines, but we need people to build and program the new automation systems,” he added. Several government grants and scholarships are being offered to help the region’s community colleges retool existing and develop future personnel. Despite the fact that area community colleges have been working feverishly to provide new offerings, enrollment in these new classes has not generated near the number of qualified workers that growing companies need now — and to help replace pending retirements. “These trends will continue to generate regional and local growth,” he commented. “Those who take advantage of these opportunities for training will garner more than job security, but skills security which can feed them despite fluctuation in the economy. If the Triad strove to become the maintenance and reliability hub where there would become a surplus of machinists and technicians, more industries would flock to North Carolina because that talent pool is so critical and so rare.” For information on the program and to apply, visit www.triadjoblink.com.