Manufacturers struggling to find qualified plant workers

Even with unemployment near 9%, manufacturers are struggling to find enough skilled workers to meet modest job growth.


The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. manufacturing companies, long known for layoffs and shipping jobs overseas, now find themselves in a very different position: scrambling for scarce talent at home.

Large and small manufacturers of everything from machine tools to chemicals are scouring for potential hires in high schools, community colleges and the military. They are poaching from one another, retraining people who used to have white-collar jobs, and in some cases even hiring former prisoners who learned machinist skills behind bars.

WSJ reporter James R. Hagerty describes how a three-part trend of increasing availability of manufacturing jobs, baby-boomer retirement, and a dearth of science/technology/engineering/math (STEM) graduates has led to an unprecedented labor shortage on the factory floor.

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