Factories Scour for Skilled Workers to Sustain Production

Expanding Manufacturing Must Train Workers to Meet Demand

As factory orders rise, the manufacturing industry has jobs to fill and a lack of skilled workers. Despite the potential for high-paying salaries, manufacturing positions don’t have the allure they used to.

Manufacturers are both elated and scared. The economy is stirring, manufacturing is gearing up and yet, owners are getting worried. Orders are coming in and production is increasing, all according to plan—but the workforce isn’t catching up.

Director of the New Jersey Advanced Manufacturing Talent Network, Meredith Aronson, reports that manufacturers “are coming back,” except there aren’t enough qualified workers to keep up the pace. Nostalgia aside, the manufacturing sector has the potential to curb unemployment if—and only if—unemployed workers get the manufacturing training they so desperately need. And boy, do they need it.

Throughout plants across the Southeast, Advanced Technology Services (ATS) hired more than 1,000 workers that required manufacturing plant training to maintain computer-controlled equipment. The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is pleased to see a comeback. From 2011 to 2012, South Carolina alone added 9,500 manufacturing jobs, and many of them need technical skills and safety training.

Although ATS staffs factories throughout the U.S., the company sees the highest demand for skilled workers in the Southeast, from Illinois down to Mississippi and Georgia. Georgia’s manufacturing industry saw real growth in 2010, but Republican Gov. Nathan Deal recognizes the necessity to educate the workforce with maintenance and industrial safety training to sustain recovery.

Gov. Deal responded with a marketing partnership promoting careers in manufacturing among Georgia youth called Go Build Georgia. The stigma working against the manufacturing trade tends to make young people and their parents shy away from factory jobs and plant work, but these jobs can be lucrative. Technical colleges with two-year degrees and multi-craft maintenance training can yield $55,000 a year salaries right out of the gate. Of course there are some discrepancies.

High-tech manufacturing positions—aka computers, electronics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace products—pay more than low-tech manufacturing jobs. In fact, a geographic layout of manufacturing salaries done by MSNBC said the rate of pay is determined by the kinds of factories operating in the region.

The top 6 areas that report the highest-paying manufacturing gigs are as follows:

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (Silicon Valley)

Average manufacturing wage: $144,899

Industry focus: computers and electronics

2. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.

Average manufacturing wage: $95,507

Industry focus: aerospace, machinery, computers and electronics

3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.

Average manufacturing wage: $91,761

Industry focus: computers, electronics, food and pharmaceuticals

4. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

Average manufacturing wage: $88,026

Industry focus: computers and electronics

5. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.

Average manufacturing wage: $87,502

Industry focus: computers, electronics and pharmaceuticals

6. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H.

Average manufacturing wage: $82,415

Industry focus: computers, electronics, fabricated metals and food

Although this data might be somewhat skewed by a few top-level employees, and the cost of living has an impact, these salaries show the room for growth among high-tech manufacturing. We’ll bet some if not all of these regions have invested in factory education and plant maintenance training.

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“Re-shoring” Efforts Yield Job Growth in Manufacturing

U.S. Manufacturing Reclaims Some Outsourced Jobs

The manufacturing sector continues to provide some significant job growth, but will it be enough when the workforce lacks basic industrial training?

The Obama administration is still hopeful that the manufacturing push will yield jobs and more American-made goods. Well, it looks like some of these efforts are paying off. Gradual improvements in the manufacturing industry made some changes appear insignificant, but economists argue the manufacturing sector has been a major and reliable source of growth in the economy since the Great Recession.

Data from the Department of Labor seems to agree.

Plant work and manufacturers created 120,000 jobs in the first three months of the year. Ford Motor is doing their part; the car company added 5,500 jobs this year that were previously outsourced. Ford reacquired the production of certain high-tech components used to assemble hybrid cars—like battery packs and transmissions—from Japan and Mexico. But automakers aren’t the only ones bringing jobs back to the states; mega corporations and small private companies alike are reclaiming jobs.

Chesapeake Bay Candles will now actually be from the Chesapeake Bay-area. GE is continuing its reign of expansion to appliances, aviation and locomotives. Last year alone, GE added 10,000 jobs. The multi-industry giant is projecting at least another 900 factory jobs by 2013. So, maybe the recent jobs report wasn’t a clear indication of the whole economic recovery picture. But if plants and factories are to make the most of new hires—and sustain ramped-up production—they need to invest in manufacturing plant training.

The second part of creating manufacturing jobs is enabling the workforce through education and industrial safety training. Not enough businesses see the value of in-sourcing because a large segment of the unemployed doesn’t have the necessary skill sets. Last year reported a record-breaking number of U.S. exports of nearly $20 billion, part of which is thanks to the construction/mining equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT). Since their heavy-duty construction equipment, especially mining machinery, has global appeal, they increased production efforts in the U.S. and put more money in the national pocket. But, increased production doesn’t mean much if workers don’t have manufacturing training.

According to CNN Money, the American workforce is at its smallest size since the 1980s. Although there has been some significant job growth, many have just stopped “engaging” with the job market—aka “job market dropouts.” It appears some adults have temporarily conceded to unemployment and returned to the drawing board for community college classes and technical skills, like manufacturing plant training. Job skills depreciate the longer someone is out of work and vocational education seems to be the only option left.

To offset the economic imbalance caused by discouraged “dropouts,” various sectors (especially the reliable manufacturing industry) must invest in the unofficially unemployed through industrial safety training, electrical training, operations training and more. Long-term investments yield more jobs, national revenue and exports, and America desperately needs all three.

Factories Fret Over Shortage of Skilled Workers

CiNet Blog 8

Manufacturers are scouring for skilled workers and coming up short. More and more plant owners are resorting to industrial training to cope.

As American factories see a vital upsurge in business, they’re finally delivering jobs to a public parched by unemployment. But manufacturers aren’t celebrating. Plant owners keep running into the same problem: they’re not finding the skilled labor they need from the American workforce.

CNN Money reports an influx of customer orders for domestic manufacturers, but the lack of skilled workers is a growing problem. Specifically, positions like manual machinists, quality control inspectors, and computer control technicians are in serious demand. When managers grasp at straws and sputter in hiring qualified workers, factory training becomes the only back up. The shortage of fundamental skill-sets—as one plant owner puts it, “young Americans just don’t consider manufacturing to be a sexy vocation”—is driving up the need for industrial workforce training.

Retirement cycles are pushing Baby Boomers out, but there aren’t trained factory workers waiting to take their place anymore. Manufacturers cannot stay competitive without preserving the knowledge of their existing workers. Transferring knowledge and skills can be difficult during the hiring transition, and industrial workforce training protects collected knowledge and passes it on.

Retirement isn’t the only reason factories are scrambling. Over the last several decades, the U.S. has outsourced many of its manufacturing jobs. The lake of available, talented workers became more of a puddle. But recovery is slow; current machinists, for instance, continue to log significant overtime. Some report an income bump of up to $40,000 as a result. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics says annual earnings for factory workers averaged around $73,000 in 2009, and the number keeps rising with demand.

Warehouse training could help put an end to the outsourcing of American jobs. After all, outsourcing has only led to fewer American-made goods, scarcer jobs, and less economic zeal. But despite the masses of unemployed adults, factories need to be somewhat selective about who they hire. The technical component of much manufacturing work prevents just anyone from learning the trade. Like any skill, it helps to have an aptitude for it. But manufacturing plant training can turn relevant talent or knowledge into skills suited for factories.

Factories are only getting more sophisticated because they must compete globally. Currently, America is sitting in a favorable position for exports and global manufacturing. Economist Mark Perry says the U.S. is responsible for one-fifth of the world’s manufacturing output, and China’s “low-wage advantage” is shrinking as foreign wages increase. Plus, growing export markets are making more room for American products, and American firms are seeing more opportunity as the production of goods in developing countries becomes less profitable—like China.

But taking advantage of this upswing in American manufacturing hinges on finding skilled labor to keep up with production. If your talent pool has dried up, consider quenching unemployment by arming new workers with industrial workforce training.

Boost Production Output With Mechanical Maintenance Training

Boost Production

Production demands rise with consumer cycle.

According to economists, two key groups of consumers are spending again. Individuals are once more purchasing cars, electronics, and household appliances, and businesses are buying industrial equipment and new technology again. Active consumers and businesses with revenue translate into strong manufacturing growth and increased output—and thus the capitalist cycle regains some fervor.

But keeping up with renewed output demands means all equipment must be working at top speed. Even if new purchases are being made, much of your equipment is probably rather old. From keeping new machines in the best possible shape to preventing old ones from falling into disrepair, mechanical maintenance training is a critical piece of smooth-running equipment.

Many manufacturing plants face pressure to modernize processes with brand new equipment, but plant operators and managers can’t make a series of expensive buys on the mere promise of economic recovery. A less costly way to streamline and update equipment is mechanical maintenance training. Maintenance training goes beyond simply learning to fix broken parts, technicians learn how to foresee problems and implement preventive measures.

Mechanical maintenance learning plans can be tweaked for your team, equipment, or particular learning style. Identifying key topics, which may vary depending on the specifics of your manufacturing plant, help you customize learning plans. Most plans cover all of your bases: encompassing fundamentals, nitty-gritty details, and all the critical information in between. Mechanical maintenance training is never static because technology is constantly improving and each worker has different skill profiles.

Industrial manufacturing employs some 13.8 million people. It’s impossible for every single worker to have the same levels of knowledge about hydraulics and pneumatics and mechanical power transmission systems. Reduce workplace accidents and make equipment last longer by giving workers the benefit of manufacturing plant training. When your workers benefit, so does your factory, and manufacturing growth gets another boost.

If consumers keep spending and sustain manufacturing growth, production demands will only increase. Industrial mechanics will need to upgrade their skills so the oldest machine is running as efficiently as the newest one. Steady production is only as reliable as the technicians maintaining the equipment. And properly trained mechanics are able to troubleshoot potential problems so the line doesn’t have to come to screeching halt when equipment hits a snag.

Engineering solutions company Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) says 70 percent of equipment failures are self-induced. And between 30 and 50 percent of these self-induced failures occur because maintenance mechanics lack the basics. Mechanical maintenance training instills the basics and digs much deeper, and LCE says such training will increase production capacity by 20 percent.

Harness Workforce Potential With Manufacturing Plant Training

The economy has a long way to go to full recovery, but the manufacturing industry is creating new jobs. Manufacturing training is an affordable way to harness a new workforce and make employees indispensible.

In the tech-driven world we find ourselves in, many jobs are rendered obsolete by the emergence of more efficient technology. But according to President Obama’s weekly address on MSNBC Jan. 19, manufacturers are hiring for the first time since the 1990s. Despite advanced equipment, manufacturing plants can be an abundant source of much-needed jobs. President Obama strongly advocates the need to invest in and support American manufacturing for both employment and trade purposes. Plants and factories can invest in their workforce through industrial safety training, a cost-efficient way to improve plant safety.

A thriving manufacturing industry means companies can outsource less, employ more hard-working Americans, and increase our number of exports. From the production of raw materials to finished products, mills and factories are responsible for infrastructure, automobiles, electronics, energy and other critical components of daily life. The American economy runs on the vast-producing manufacturing industry the way tires rely on tread to grip pavement. The industry is critical to our ability to compete in a global trade market; otherwise we have no traction. Hard workers are a factor of this equation, and quality workers are only improved by quality training.

Manufacturing safety training benefits old and new workers alike. Employees become even more valuable when armed with industrial safety training, unrivaled experience, and polished skills. The best machines and equipment simply can’t compare. Since manufacturing plant training is available online, it’s an affordable expense that helps even out the playing field for employees with different knowledge and experience levels.

The manufacturing industry will never boom like it did in the 1950s—it’s only one of many economic sectors—but it can alleviate some of the pressure from high unemployment rates. The Federal Reserve says factories added some 50,000 positions to the slim pool of job opportunity in January alone, and accounted for 13 percent of all the jobs created last year. By capitalizing on the steady hiring increase over the past five months with online industrial training, employees become truly irreplaceable.

New hires need custom training. With the advantage of manufacturing plant training and the ability to customize your courses, the hiring process is as efficient as possible. Your employee retention rate increases while the number of accidents decreases, which means overall factory output expands. Manufacturing training will help you harness the potential of a new workforce to improve productivity and enhance safety.

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