My recent note in the July 2011 edition of the "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter resulted in a nice exchange of e-mails with readers. I wrote about The FABRICATOR's 2011 What Keeps You up at Night? survey and noted that even with the overall concern about the economy, which also was the No. 1 concern among fabricators surveyed in 2009, metal fabricators still fret about the availability of skilled workers, the No. 2 concern.
Most of the e-mail contained comments about the current economy and the inability of elected officials to do the right thing. That can't surprise many people. However, one e-mail author asked a decent question: "You keeping saying there is a lack of skilled workers out there. What skills? Why don't you do your own survey to find out what skills companies are looking for?" That's a great point because "skilled labor" definitely can be defined many different ways.
Luckily, the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association's Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs Foundation conducted such a survey recently. The Manufacturing Job Skills Survey, completed at the end of 2010, revealed that every fabricator has a different take on just what skills need improving. (more...)