Manufacturers concerned about shrinking pool of qualified employees

A survey of Minnesota manufacturing companies indicates they're increasingly concerned about finding qualified workers.

The survey, sponsored by the nonprofit consulting firm Enterprise Minnesota, found that a third of manufacturing company executives are worried about finding workers with the skills they need.

People completing two-year training programs can earn $20 to $25 an hour at some manufacturing companies, said Enterprise Minnesota President Bob Kill But he said many young people and their parents mistakenly believe manufacturing is dying.

We spent 30 years — since the recession of the early 1980s — basically telling generations that manufacturing was going away, we don't make things any more," Kill said.

He said manufacturing companies are meeting with high school students to tell them about career opportunities in factories.

Over the past two years, Minnesota has added about 10,000 manufacturing jobs. Even so, there are about 100,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in Minnesota compared to a decade ago.

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