Manufacturers are hiring, this should be good news for Northeast Ohio right?

herpelAccording to two recent studies cited in Crain’s Cleveland Business, many manufacturers in Northeast Ohio are planning to hire in 2011. (See Optimism on upswing at industrial companies; Manufacturers’ surveys suggest a better 2011, Crain’s Cleveland Business, January 24,  2011; subscription may be required.)

Crain’s reports that surveys of members from both WIRE-Net and the Precision Metal Forming Association (PMA)  indicated that their members are seeing an increase in orders that will translate into an increase in their labor force.  We should all be ecstatic!

However, what happens when our region’s manufacturers can’t find the skilled workers they are looking for?

True, some may be hiring back employees they had to let go during the recession, but others will be looking for the new employee, the one who comes with advanced technical skills, the ability to cross train, is flexible, can work on a team and has a solid work ethic.

Does this employee exist in Northeast Ohio? And if they do, will they seek a job in the manufacturing industry?

Organizations like MAGNET and many others—including the Alliance Working Together (AWT) in Lake County, WIRE-Net and PMA (mentioned above), the National Association of Manufacturers, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, as well as the Ohio Board of Regents with its Ohio Skills Bank initiative—are all working to try and ensure that Northeast Ohio has the best workers to fill industry’s needs.  However manufacturers also must play a role.

The days of companies having to stay put are long over. We all know that we live, work and compete in a global marketplace.  In order to survive and thrive, companies will do whatever they have to, including relocating, moving operations to another one of their plants or outsourcing what they can—all of which will affect the economy in our region.

It would be a shame if the reason manufacturing couldn’t continue to succeed in Northeast Ohio is due to a lack of a skilled workforce. The question is: what are you willing to do to help create that skilled workforce?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or e-mail me at karen.herpel@magnetwork.org.

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