As companies return their operations to the U.S., is the workforce prepared to take the jobs they can offer? Since December 2009, manufacturers have increased their payrolls by about 400,000 workers. Some of these jobs were the result of onshoring—the return of positions and operations that had been transplanted to lower-wage nations.
According to the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology, the largest concern facing the manufacturing industry today is finding quality employees.
“We have seen everyone doing better - sales are up and hiring is up. But the main problem many of our clients are having is finding machinists. There aren’t enough trained employees out there,” stated Merrily Hill Smith, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology. “Additionally we hear daily that many employees simply lack the ‘soft skills’ needed for stable employment.”
Soft skills typically refer to punctuality, motivation, communication, personal habits, and other skills that affect job performance and relationships with coworkers. It’s not merely enough to be trained on how to do the job. Employees also need to show they care about the job by showing up on time, dressing appropriately for the workplace and communicating with those around them.
One of the largest misconceptions is that manufacturing jobs are minimum-wage jobs. That is no longer the case. The average annual salary for manufacturing in Colorado is $60,000, which is 20% higher than all other industry averages. Additionally, most of the jobs can be attained through a community college or technical school education.
“Community Colleges are doing a great job of training and producing machinists, but we need more!” emphasized Smith.
For those interested in learning about various careers in the industry and training options, Commerce City will host a special Career Fair on September 19th at the Recreation Center. The EMPLOY COMMERCE CITY career fair will offer development workshops, job application assistance, training opportunities and more. Next month’s newsletter will focus on the Commerce City workforce and will provide more details on the upcoming event.