Finding Qualified Workers Is A Problem According To State Of Manufacturing Survey
Exactly 123 professionals from across the state participated in this years “State Of Manufacturing” survey. The results revealed employers are becoming more worried about finding and retaining talent.
“It’s a survey of executives and it really is to try and understand the challenges and opportunities manufacturing has in the state of Minnesota,” says Bob Kill, Enterprise Minnesota President and CEO.
The State Of Manufacturing Survey discovered the number one problem employers have is the cost of health care, but not far behind is attracting and retaining qualified workers. Although, today’s panel says where other areas are having problems, the Bemidji area is actually thriving.
“We have people here that are willing to work and to take risks and I think that’s been a large part of our success here in the employment side. We haven’t seen—or I haven’t seen the issue in employment,” says Jason LaValley, panelist and President/CEO of LaValley Industries.
“I feel really strongly about the fact that we have people up here. In fact, we have so many people up here that we export talent of Northern Minnesota,” adds Erik Hokuf, panelist and general manager for AirCorps Aviation.
Panelists say a big factor in Bemidji’s success is the fact that a lot of workers are recruited young. For example, the Bemidji High School Career Academies has more than 600 students interested in various trades.
Brian Stefanich, panelist and Bemidji Career Academies Principal, says, “It’s about getting our students out into the doors and in the end, we want to get job shadow experience and build those relationships with our students and the HR departments and our CEOs.”
The panel also discussed the importance of being innovative and offering new opportunities as a way to recruit workers.
“We’re always looking for ways to leverage our people and our process and one of those, of course is, upgrading equipment adding tooling and other things that people have been doing out of house for us,” says Kevin Baumgartner, president of American Garage Door Supply Inc.
Another way to recruit employers is to make manufacturing more appealing by focusing on the positivity with jobs and various career opportunities.
Jeremy Leffelman, panelist and executive director of the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, says, “Foundationally, we’re trying to change the perception of manufacturing, what we refer to as manufacturing 2.0. For a long time, we’ve kind of lead with the message, ‘well manufacturing is no longer dark, dirty and dingy. It’s now this.’ But when you kind of lead with that negative perception, that’s kind of what people hear first.”
To view the full results of the State Of Manufacturing survey, click here.