U.S. Manufacturers Address the Skills Gap

skills gap

As a manufacturer, chances are you’ve heard about the “skills gap”—the lack of properly-trained, qualified workers to fill highly skilled positions in manufacturing and other industries, which many people blame for the more than 3 million vacant jobs in a time when many face unemployment—maybe you’ve even run into problems finding skilled labor yourself. Some people believe that we’re facing a “skills gap crisis” in this country, while others feel that the existence of a skills gap is overblown. Both sides have studies and figures to quote, but at the end of the day, all you want is to know that you can find the skilled workers you need to help run your shop floor.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which had previously been passed by the Senate with a resounding 95-3 vote. The Act would replace the old Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and is intended to help close the skills gap by focusing on training the American workforce for portable, certified skills that are in-demand all over the country. According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), 80% of U.S. manufacturers are currently reporting a moderate to severe shortage of qualified applicants for skilled positions, while 53 percent of small businesses nationwide told a Chamber of Commerce study that they faced a major challenge in recruiting non-managerial employees.

Business owners are not taking their skills gap problems lying down, however. While the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act may help out, many businesses are also turning to apprenticeship programs and on-the-job training to help close the skills gap. Both practices have been on the decline in recent years. In 2013, the Department of Labor counted only 287,750 active registered apprentices in the United States, a figure that was only a little more than half what it had been a decade before, and only 1/10 of what it is in Britain. Meanwhile, in a 2011 survey, only about 21% of workers reported having received formal on-the-job training in the last five years. Many people are embracing increased on-site training and a return to apprenticeship programs as a way to help make up for skills gap deficits.

Regardless of your approach to the problem, the fact is that manufacturers need skilled workers to keep their operations running smoothly. They also need good deburring machinery, to make sure that the end product is just as smooth. At Cleveland Deburring Machine Company, we know all about the importance of keeping things running smoothly; that’s why all of our deburring machine solutions are custom-tailored to the needs of our manufacturing customers. With CDMC, you know that your deburring solutions are in good hands.