Minnesota seeks younger workers for manufacturing jobs

Minnesota state agencies, private employers and non-profit organizations are trying to attract more young people to manufacturing jobs.
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Minnesota state agencies, private employers and non-profit organizations are trying to attract more young people to manufacturing jobs.

Since the Great Recession, when Minnesota shed more than 54,000 jobs, manufacturers have struggled to attract a sufficient number of workers.

That means more strain on companies as baby boomers age out of the workplace, according to the Minn Post.

In recent years there has been an increasing demand for skilled workers in the United States that is expected to persist for years. During the next decade, according to a 2015 report from Deloitte and Manufacturing Institute, more than 3 million manufacturing positions will be available nationwide — with 60 percent of them likely remaining unfilled.

In Minnesota, nearly 5,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled — a number that will likely grow as more and more employees move into retirement. The lack of skilled workers is attributable, in part, to fewer young people choosing careers in the industry.

One of the factors fueling the gap is that an increasing number of high schools have closed industrial training classes in recent years, said Marni Hockenberg, founder and president of Minnetonka, Minn.-based Hockenberg Search, which provides recruiting services to manufacturers.

“These are classes that would teach young people skills such as working in metal fabrication and tooling,” she told the paper. “So we lost a lot of potential workers because they just were not exposed to ways that they could work with their hands and earn a living.”

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