Advisory Group Says Manufacturers Can't Fill Job Openings

Aug 22, 2012

A new report looking into ways to strengthen Pennsylvania's manufacturing industry includes 15 recommendations ranging from employee education to regulatory overhaul. 

An advisory group comprised of manufacturing company presidents, manufacturing association representatives, and government officials has sent those recommendations to Governor Corbett and the state legislature.  Their report cites a 2011 study that shows more than 80% of surveyed U.S. manufacturers can’'t fill jobs because potential employees are lacking in needed skills.

Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis said he hears from manufacturing company presidents who say they want their sector’s employees to be more skilled than they’ have been in the past.

"What they often say is, yes, give me someone who has the training and the capabilities to run that multi-million piece of machinery behind me, but just as important, give me a worker who has the skills and capabilities to read the operation manual," Tomalis said.

State Representative Stan Saylor (R-York) said the state can help with the education of its workforce by sending more funding to trade schools.

"We already give some money to those schools," Saylor said.  "We need to put more money into those schools as investments for them to accept and expand their programs because most of those schools are very limited in how many students they can take."

The advisory group began its work in January, through funding from a nonprofit group as well as a federal program.