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Perspective: What is the only manufacturing skills shortage that matters?

By Becky Morgan, for Industry Week

Jul 26, 2017

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Research shows that over a million manufacturing jobs sit unfilled right now. That number is expected to increase to over 3 million by the end of this decade. A skills shortage is to blame, say most. “We need CNC operators, robot operators, and mechatronics skills” say all too many manufacturing companies. This is not just an American challenge, but one worldwide. Advances in technology that reduce the impact of high labor costs are the double-edged sword created largely by offshoring in prior decades.

How does a manufacturing company leader solve that problem? By emphasizing the only capability that truly matters: The willingness and ability to learn.

Whatever technical skills potential employees need today will be soon replaced by different ones. Schools can’t provide job-ready employees when we can’t tell them what jobs will exist in the future.

A good educator and trainer can teach employees new skills rapidly. Is full productivity reached on day one? No. But they have demonstrated they can learn new things and that is more valuable to you moving forward.

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