It is no secret that most, if not all, manufacturing companies in the United States are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill technical positions. Looking back, the push by politicians, educators and other influential individuals to have every high school graduate go on to college and obtain a degree was not a stellar plan.

Many, including myself, did not agree with that mindset; but then again I rarely agree with those types of individuals. My thinking is more along the lines of John Ratzenberger.

With this push, came an all but abandonment of the skilled trades; trades that greatly assisted in the USA becoming an economic powerhouse. I remember asking, ‘who will build our houses, do the wiring, run the plumbing? Who are going to fabricate and machine parts or build the dies, molds and special machines? Where will the iron workers come from?’

Thus if it is a challenge for larger manufacturing companies to find skilled people, just imagine what it is like for companies of our size, less than 20 employees, to find them. Smaller companies have a harder time offering the same fringe benefits as the larger ones. As a result, we had to consider other avenues. One thing we have done is to hire people with little or no experience and train them. Even though this presents an initial problem of decreased productivity since we are using already productive employees to train less productive employees, in the long term, we feel it is paying off.

Of course we first have to find individuals that actually want to work and will show up on time to do so. I won’t get into this now, since that is a topic/issue in and of itself.