By John W. Lloyd, President and CEO of MANTEC

For years we have been hearing from our manufacturing clients how there is a workforce shortage and a skills gap. Each generation wants the next generation to be better off. Somewhere along the line that meant NOT working in manufacturing. Misperceptions are powerful: manufacturing is dark, dirty and dangerous. The reality is most manufacturing facilities are NOT dark, dirty and dangerous. When was the last time you were in a manufacturing facility to validate your perceptions? lloyd2

MANTEC recently sponsored the York County Economic Alliance’s Workforce Roundtables. The roundtables brought together state legislators with employers to discuss important issues such as education and training and wages and labor. These are no doubt hot topics for all manufacturing employers. The general consensus is that education and training must start in the schools and with parents. Students are pushed into four-year degree programs, end up in debt and may not be able to find a job. Not all students are meant for college. With the right training there are plenty of good jobs out there.

We’re seeing manufacturers do their part to set the record straight on the jobs they offer. For National Manufacturing Day companies here in South Central PA and around the country opened their doors to high school student to demonstrate their jobs are sophisticated, challenging and often high tech.
MANTEC’s Jobs 1st survey conducted in June 2015 covered a cross section of manufacturers in our region.

Key findings of the report indicated:

  • Manufacturers will fill jobs through planned recruitment and by training existing workers.
  • Entry level production workers are the most in demand. They need problem solving and critical thinking to succeed.
  • Most new hires come from technical or 2 year degree programs.
  • Manufacturing job opportunities are growing in South Central PA.

Many organizations including MANTEC, World Trade Center of Harrisburg and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce regularly host manufacturing plant tours. I challenge you to educate yourself on the reality of the new manufacturing industry. Your perceptions will change as you witness an industry investing in technology which is innovative and highly automated. There are good family sustaining wage jobs waiting for the next generation. It is time to correct the misperceptions and fill the workforce gap.