"Even as thousands of Wisconsin manufacturing workers remain unemployed, companies are worried about a lack of skilled labor. Some manufacturers say they've lost business or face stagnant growth because they can't find qualified help.
"Often there's a disconnect between people who are out of work and companies struggling to fill factory jobs that require advanced skills such as reading blueprints and programming computer-controlled machines.
"'I worry more about that than I worry about competition from China,' (Paul) Rauscher said.
"Statewide, 31,000 job openings were posted at Department of Workforce Development employment centers last month, including thousands of openings at manufacturing plants. Yet the state's unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 7.8% as of July."
"While he was at Bucyrus, now owned by Caterpillar Inc., (Tim) Sullivan moved about 125 welding jobs to Texas because he couldn't find enough people locally with the necessary skills. Show up with the right credentials, and companies such as Karl Schmidt Unisia Inc. could offer you a job on the spot, according to the Marinette maker of engine parts.
"'We don't need rocket scientists. We need people with basic technical skills who know how to use tools, work with their hands and make something happen,' said Ron Kadlubowski, director of machining technology at Karl Schmidt Unisia.
"The company has grown from 250 employees in 1985 to more than 900 now. Currently, Kadlubowski said, it has dozens of openings for skilled machine operators.
"'We have so many openings now, it's amazing,' he said. 'If you come in with a basic skill set, and you don't have some rotten work history, you are going to get hired. And other companies in the area are hiring people left and right. The hard part is finding someone who looks encouraging.'
"One problem in addressing the skills crisis is a lack of basic math skills, manufacturers say.
"Many job applicants can't answer the question 'what is one half of one half,' Rauscher said, and they can't measure something to a fraction of an inch.
"'How are you going to get a workforce together when people lack those basic skills? It's pretty pathetic,' he said.
"A manufacturer looking to fill 134 entry-level jobs, paying $15 per hour, received 850 applications but hired only 17 of the applicants, according to Jim Golembeski, executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, in Green Bay.
"Many lacked a high school diploma or could not pass basic reading, math or dexterity tests. Others flunked the drug and alcohol test."
Read the entire article: http://www.jsonline.com/business/129200543.html
The dumbing down of America. It's been happening for decades. Good, solid, make-a-living jobs go begging while thousands are unemployed. We reap what we sow.