Skilled workers are in demand
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/04/2012 -- Despite the struggling economy, employers are looking to hire in the skilled trades, but cannot find the right workers.
Jobs for tool makers, millwrights, industrial mechanics and other skilled manufacturing roles are going unfilled in the Lima, Ohio area, even as the state’s unemployment rate remains high.
Jeff Sprague, vice president of Allen Economic Development Group told Limaohio.com that on five company visits, he found all had openings for skilled workers. “Everyone we interview says this is a national issue,” Sprague said. “A little bit of a decline in the quality of the workforce, the stability of the workforce.”
Companies hiring in the Lima area include Ada Technologies, Crown Equipment Corp., Nickles Bakery and Whirlpool.
Among job-seekers, difficulties in getting hired are not just about learning up-to-date skills. Getting to work and securing child care can be big issues as well, said Marilyn Horstman, head of Allen County ACCENT, an employment and training agency.
“Low-income people can have some big barriers to employment,” Horstman said. “Transportation, especially in Lima and Allen County, is a huge issue.”
In the past decade, the economy has changed, and many job descriptions have changed with it. The downturn after the 9/11 attacks changed the way companies operate, said Jed Metzger, president of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce.
“Companies have just pulled back,” said Metzger. “They want to get someone in and see how they work, producing positive results, before they’ll spend money on training a person.”
Employers scaled back staffing, but the tasks did not change. Thus job responsibilities are re-assigned to existing positions, said West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium director Doug Durliat. A machinist might now be asked to maintain his machine, Durliat noted.
“That’s the new baseline, someone who can run the machine and maintain it. It’s what I’m hearing in factories,” said Durliat.
Companies that are hiring full-time positions often offer good pay and benefits without requiring a four-year college degree. But the education system is focused on putting students through university and achieving test results, Metzger noted.
“You don’t have to lock into a degree,” said Durliat. “But so many times, it does come down to a person having some kind of technical skill, being on time and passing a drug test.”
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