Manufacturing industry faces talent shortage, but innovative MN programs are here to help

Despite near-historic low unemployment rates in the United States, there is a very real skills shortage threatening growth in industries that form the backbone of key economic expansion. In Minnesota, our current shortage of 60,000 workers is expected to balloon to 239,000 by 2022.

The manufacturing industry is one of several sectors experiencing talent shortage trends. While filling open jobs has been an ongoing challenge for manufacturers in recent years, the mismatch in the labor market is steadily ramping up across the U.S., according to a study by the National Association of Manufacturers.

[T]he lack of skills identified by manufacturing industry executives and impending retirements suggest the industry could experience employment bottlenecks, leading to a potential 2.4 million jobs going unfilled, with the risk of limiting production below these proportions. By 2028, in the base case, additional manufacturing value added of US$454 billion could be at risk if qualified workers cannot be found to fill the open jobs…

Minnesota’s strained talent market could lead to $33 billion in annual state GDP not realized, $12 billion in annual personal income, and annual local tax contributions close to $2.2 billion, according to projections by RealTime Talent. Leaving these jobs unfilled is lost economic potential both at the state and national levels.

What can employers do?

Because today’s hiring demands will constrain the future’s economic growth, employers cannot settle for short-term solutions.

Instead, they need to explore and understand how to expand “soft” skills in the workplace to accompany the introduction of advanced technology and automation. Manufacturers also need to develop strategies to inform students, parents, and others about the excellent job and career opportunities in modern manufacturing.

On Monday, December 3, Minnesota’s manufacturers will gather to explore innovative programs gaining momentum here in Minnesota to attract, develop, and retain new talent.

The solutions-focused symposium—hosted by the Center’s Great Jobs Project in partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, and RealTime Talent—will include tools for manufacturers to use in their own attraction and development efforts. Key employers and partners in the manufacturing industry, including representatives from the Manufacturing Institute, 3M, Graco, Pequot Tool, Peerless Chain, Jones Metal, and Dunwoody College, will participate in two panels. Round-table sessions will follow, giving manufacturers in attendance the chance to explore approaches to patching the worker shortage gap and strategies to forge a path forward to meet Minnesota’s future workforce needs.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased here or by calling 612-584-4557.