The importance of training
Training is extremely important to the future of manufacturing in the United States, yet in many states, it has fallen by the wayside. Training for skilled manufacturing positions has been hit by a perfect storm of budget cuts and the mistaken idea that all young workers should go to college. What training exists has a near-exclusive focus on non-manufacturing skills. Well-paid manufacturing jobs requiring manual skills are out there, and as the skilled workforce ages, it is becoming more and more difficult to fill critical positions with trained employees.
At Connecticut Spring & Stamping (CSS), the situation had become so desperate that to meet its capacity and continue to grow, the company has had to replace formerly state-funded training with its own programs, tailored to the skill sets required for tool and die makers and various spring coiler setup operations.
While a successful in-house program definitely has rewards and helps CSS attract and retain skilled employees, the company still maintains that states should go back to providing these educational services, so companies can focus on what they do best — hiring and manufacturing.
Rapid growth fuels hiring
“As the manufacturing companies and jobs migrated to the South or overseas, the state began losing interest, and stopped funding these programs,” says Steve Dicke, vice president of sales and marketing at CSS. “We would run an ad for a spring set up person, and would rarely get any applicants with the proper training.”
Dicke explains that he found many likely candidates were pursuing computer programming training. Although the manufacturing jobs at his shop do require computer literacy to program machines, they also require an additional set of manual skills — the ability to maneuver the parts and machines.