Charlotte Manufacturers Need Skilled Workers to Fill Jobs
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Gary Case has been a mechanic at the airport for the last 23 years. Now he's learning new skills in CPCC's manufacturing program. "The income you can make leaving here is a very viable income," he says. Research shows there are lots of manufacturing jobs in Charlotte, but not enough skilled workers to fill them.
Hal Sirkin, from the Boston Consulting Group, crunched the numbers. "In the short term," he says, "companies can increase overtime a bit, which is how a lot of companies have been addressing this. But of course that can only go on so long."
Added to that, the average age of workers currently in those "highly skilled" jobs is 56, so many will retire soon. Sirkin says smart companies are starting apprenticeships.
"It's also the high end kind of stuff," says CPCC's Richard Zollinger. He says that's what encouraged the school to start its manufacturing training program.
Students like Isaac Lowery hope it will get them back in the manufacturing business. He was laid off in 2000. "In order to stay employed and get a better job, or keep the job you have," he says, "you need to improve your skills."
Let's face it, with all of the numbers and computers needed to run these machines, the manufacturing business of today isn't what your grandfather or even your father were doing.
"Manufacturing is coming back in big ways," says Zollinger, "but it's at a very high level of technical skills."
"I'm actually thinking that I might like to go into this as a living," adds Case. "Perhaps leave what I'm doing and retire early, and do this as a new income."
With the skills he's learning, Gary is in high demand.
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