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Bay State Factories Can’t Find Enough Skilled Workers

Factory Workers, Flickr

Bay State manufacturers can’t find enough skilled workers to man their factory floors. That’s according to a new UMass Dartmouth survey which found one in three manufacturers reported having difficulty filling positions. Six out of 10 of those same employers also said they expect to need more production workers in two years than they do today. According to a UMass Dartmouth press release, the survey results suggest these hiring challenges exist in every sector of the Massachusetts manufacturing industry. Seventy percent of the firms surveyed called the lack of skilled workers a concern, many said they would train people with the right work ethic and basic skills.

“These findings provide us with strong evidence that Massachusetts workforce development and educational institutions face a significant but targeted challenge,” said UMass Dartmouth professor Michael Goodman who is leading the survey effort. “Our findings are consistent with recent MIT research that also finds that, while the scale of this challenge is more modest than some have claimed, we can solve this problem if we can strengthen the connections between those employers with very real workforce needs and our vocational high schools, community colleges, and workforce development agencies.”

The survey also found that:

  • 90 percent of firms surveyed agreed that, if a potential production worker has the right attitude and basic skills, they are willing and able to provide them with the additional training required.
  • 79 percent indicated that they have the resources they require to train new production workers.  83 percent reported having the resources to train existing production staff.
  • 57 percent of firms reported that they require their new production workers to have relevant industry experience.  79 percent reported that they prefer their new production workers to have experience.

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