Demand rising for middle-skilled jobs

Capital News Service
LANSING – Not everyone needs a bachelor’s degree. A recent national survey shows that employers have trouble filling middle-skilled jobs, and it said state-run programs could do more to help. The Michigan Manufacturers Association, or MMA, and local agencies say the same void exists around the state and they are working to fill it. There are more than 7,000 production job openings in Michigan and that number is expected to grow, said Delaney McKinley, director of human resource policy for MMA. In the next 10 years, 50  percent of production workers will retire.

Industry faces shortage of engineers

Capital News Service
LANSING—The need for engineers in the state is rising, yet the amount of available skilled workers remains low. That’s true even though Michigan has the most industrial and mechanical engineers in the country. Michigan’s manufacturing jobs dwindled during the economic downturn but are bouncing back, according to Michigan Industry Cluster Workforce Reports. “The economy is coming back. There are a lot more manufacturing jobs out there.

Shortage of skilled manufacturing workers up for debate

Capital News Service
LANSING — Despite growing concern over a skilled labor shortage in Michigan’s manufacturing industry, a Kalamazoo-based research company suggests employment data doesn’t support the hyped fears. Many manufacturers in the state have expressed difficulties in finding skilled laborers to fit their needs and claim there is a talent shortage, especially in middle-skill positions such as engineers, welders, machinists and technicians. Groups such as the Michigan Manufacturers Association are prioritizing initiatives with manufacturers, community colleges and career service agencies to address the shortage, association director of human resource policy Delaney McKinley said. But according to George Erickeck, a senior regional analyst at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, that perception isn’t necessarily in line with publically available workforce data. In an attempt to pinpoint the root of Michigan’s supposed skilled labor shortage, the institute used U.S. Census data to compile information about employment statistics for machinists in seven Midwest states, Erickeck said.

Federal grant to boost manufacturing collaboration

Capital News Service
LANSING – Manufacturing organizations are partnering after receiving a $2.19 million federal grant through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. According to the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA), the grant will fund the Southeast Michigan Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Realization Cluster project—known as “the Cluster”—and connect manufacturers across the state to form a fast-growing community of firms.
Participants include the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance in Taylor, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, the Workforce Intelligence Network in Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth. SEMCA will act as the fiscal agent for key elements of the grant, and each participating organization will have responsibility over a portion of the funds, with the common goal of “connecting manufacturing firms and helping them support lower-volume, rapid-production, highly custom projects,” according to SEMCA. Data from the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that manufacturers account for nearly 16 percent of the state’s total gross state product and employ about 12.3 percent of the workforce. According to the participating organizations, forming the Cluster will allow smaller, traditional manufacturers to pool resources.