Officials: Finding qualified manufacturing employees a "major issue"

By Jared Stonesifer, for The Beaver County Times

Aug 05, 2016

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More people are employed in the retail sector than in manufacturing in Beaver County, PA, but plenty of people are working behind the scenes to change that.

Jack Manning, president of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce, said the manufacturing base in Beaver County is probably at its lowest point in history. “It’s a sad state of affairs when retail passes manufacturing in southwestern Pennsylvania, especially in Beaver County,” he said.

With a 6 percent unemployment rate in Beaver County, more than 5,000 people are listed as being jobless. Despite that, more than 1,000 available jobs are listed on the CareerLinks site, officials said.

So where is the disconnect? According to officials in attendance, most unemployed workers in Beaver County don’t possess the necessary skills to be eligible for employment in manufacturing. In addition, there are concerns that many can’t pass basic background checks or drug screenings.

That problem is exacerbated by the fact that hundreds of thousands of baby boomers are expected to retire in the coming years in western Pennsylvania, which means the employment gap is about to open up even further.

Read the full story, including education initiatives in Beaver County.

 

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