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Pennsylvania is facing a critical shortage of skilled manufacturing workers, according to a new report released by the Department of Labor & Industry.
The report, "Critical Shortages of Precision Machining and Industrial Maintenance Occupations in Pennsylvania's Manufacturing Sector," provides details about the manufacturing industry's need for a skilled and highly trained workforce.
There are 72,000 individuals working in precision machining and industrial maintenance occupations in Pennsylvania. The PA Center for Advanced Manufacturing Careers estimates that employers will need between 15,000 and 17,000 additional skilled workers during the next decade.
"Modern manufacturing has come a long way from the oil-soaked machine shops of the past," Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Dr. Robert Garraty said. "Today's employers need a workforce with the skills and specialized training necessary to operate and maintain increasingly complex, computer-controlled manufacturing systems."
Joined by Lancaster Workforce Investment Board executive director Scott Sheely, operations manager Jim Fleischer and senior project manager Jim Eichelberger of Hamilton Precision Metals, Garraty emphasized the need for private-public partnerships that encourage development and delivery of training opportunities tailored to manufacturers' workforce needs.
Manufacturing contributes an annual economic output of $75.5 billion, accounting for approximately 14 percent of the state's gross product. The report released today provides wage and employment information for occupations critical to the continued strength of Pennsylvania manufacturing.
"This report lays out some of the challenges that Pennsylvania manufacturers will face over the next 10 years," Garraty said. "It should be used to help educators, policymakers and employers address those challenges, and to help the state avert an employment crisis in this crucial industry sector."
The PA Center for Advanced Manufacturing Careers is part of the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board – the governor's principal private-sector policy advisor on building a strong workforce development system aligned with state education and economic development goals.
The new report is available online at www.paworkforce.state.pa.us.