Employers struggle to find skilled workers

Place this in the “more confirmation than information” file. It’s a familiar and enduring story. Jobs go wanting because employers can’t find qualified employees. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports under the headline, “We’re swimming upriver when it comes to finding skilled help.”

Manufacturers can’t find workers to fill open positions.

It’s a problem at West Seattle’s Nucor Steel, at South Seattle’s The Gear Works, at Shilshole’s CSR Marine. Things have gotten so bad that several manufacturers, tired of waiting for educators and policymakers to help them, have taken matters into their own hands and created their own in-house training and apprenticeship programs.

The neglect comes at the state’s peril. The approximately 300,000 state residents employed in manufacturing made, on average, almost $85,000 in 2013, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. That’s 36 percent higher than the average statewide wage. Failing to feed that pipeline could have devastating effects on the economy.

In the Olympian, Lee Newgent, executive secretary of the Washington State Building & Constructions Trade Council, points out the additional employment opportunities for skilled workers that could come through expansion of trade terminals. To take advantage of those opportunities, prospective employees require the training and education that will qualify them for the work.

The PSBJ headline quote is from 

Roland Ramberg, CEO of The Gear Works, which employs about 100 workers at the South Park location it has occupied since 1946. [He adds,] “Skilled machinists just do not come into the door.”