Today marks the end of our first week of school at Vantage. It has been a smooth start and we even got in a fire drill!
I ran across an article about the skilled labor shortage, which many people may find hard to believe, with so many people looking for work in the past few years. But I believe there is a skilled labor shortage, and CBS news has reported on it. Reporter Cynthia Bowers interviewed Linda Fillingham, a machine shop owner. Her family's shop could use 30-40 employees to help make metal parts that go into some of America's biggest machines.
Bowers reports that there is no shortage of work for this factory, but a shortage of skilled labor. The machine shop requires people with good math skills, who are also good with their hands, and are willing to work on a factory floor. The job isn't a glamourous one--it can be hot, hard work. And Fillingham has had to resort to paying people to learn on the job, at $13 to $18 per hour. The article notes that the average manufacturer is 50 years old--if there is a shortage now, there will be a much bigger one in 10-15 years as many in the workforce retire.
Bowers states that by 2012, the U.S. will see a shortage of 3 million skilled workers, not just in the manufacturing sector. The government says there are 227,000 open manufacturing jobs right now, which is more than double a year ago. Her article indicates that 183,000 of these jobs have been created since December, 2009.
Vantage Career Center has a very successful precision machining program, taught by Mr. Larry Ray. All but one or two of his 2010 graduated seniors are working now in machining. He goes out of his way to help the students find jobs near their local community, via many contacts with employers who look for Vantage-trained students. Typically we see strong enrollment in both the junior and senior program, however, this year it is a bit less. We have made similar remarks as in CBS' Cynthia Bowers' article--25 year-old Matthew McDannel, employed at Linda Fillingham's factory, and learning on the job says: "Maybe the work's too hard. Maybe it's too hot. Maybe people just think about it and they're just, like, "oh, I don't want to do that." Students--reconsider! Precision machining is a solid job prospect and a lucrative career move for males AND females. Our students with good skills and a good work ethic do find jobs.