Snyder targets shortage of skilled workers

Michigan can gain a competitive edge over other states by filling a skills gap that leads to good jobs going unfilled because of a lack of qualified candidates, Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday.
AP Wire
May 30, 2014

 

"The jurisdiction, the place that does this the best over the next few years will have a strategic economic advantage," he told a crowd during his keynote speech at the Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual meeting for more than 1,500 business, political and civil leaders. "Companies will be coming to that location because there is such a national problem with this issue. When you talk about issues and you talk about the future, I put this at the top of the list."
 
Snyder said, as he has before, that there are at least 70,000 unfilled positions listed on a state-sponsored jobs website. That's despite a seasonally adjusted state unemployment rate of 7.4 last month, higher than the national average of 6.3 percent.
 
"That's an understated number," he said of the jobs total, adding that employers have told him they do not bother posting five or 10 more of the same kind of job because they cannot fill one.
 
Snyder said he has held economic and education summits to encourage collaboration between businesses and colleges or technical institutes, but added that is "still not good enough."
 
University degrees in science, technology, engineering and math are important, but Michigan has failed to underscore the significance of skilled trades and career technical programs, he said.
 
"That is a huge opportunity. We need to get out there," Snyder said.
 
Snyder, who is seeking re-election later this year, mentioned some programs designed to fix the problem, including the Michigan Advanced Technician Training program, where employers pay tuition for three years for employees who rotate between working and getting an advanced associate's degree.
 
A similar program is Grand Rapids Community College's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.
 
Democrats on Thursday said fewer jobs are being created than when Snyder first took office.
 
"If it weren't for the auto companies' rebound — which has nothing to do with Snyder's policies — there would be nearly no job growth in Michigan since Snyder's policies went into effect," said state Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson.
 
A conference forum earlier Thursday focused on so-called "STEM" education and its importance.
 
Kalamazoo Valley Community College President Marilyn Schlack said K-12 school districts have de-emphasized technical education.
 
"It's expensive. Students haven't wanted to be involved," she said.
 
Schlack said the college and school districts partnered to create a consortium to encourage students to have a hands-on experience in welding, nursing, hospitality and graphic arts.
 
"We need to be much more focused on competency-based education," she said.

Comments

zwesterhouse

They can't find skilled trades workers because people don't want to work 12 hour shifts 7 days a week. Lets look at Grand Haven/Ottawa County Tool and Die trade. Excessive mandatory overtime that is detrimental to a persons health and family bonding time. Buhler Prince, JR automation, Transmatic, Drawform are all places that over work people. Company moral in many tool shops is dismal. Men are angry daily and use profanities while swearing at the ceilings. No air conditioning. No pensions anymore. Europe as legislated all workers get 6 to 8 weeks paid vacations - why doesn't that catch on here in Grand Haven? or Michigan? Vacation days have been replace with PTO or paid-time-off. PTO is a bad deal and short changes the worker. Skilled trades workers also tell apprentices to find another line of work when they start. Skilled trades is a losing battle that leads a person to divorce, an early grave and no pension. Most school counselors secretly guide the student body away from those tool & die or CNC machinist professions because they know the truth about working in those occupations. So just let em cry for workers - those are just crocodile tears in my book. They are crying because they have no more access to cheap help that can be abused daily, monthly, yearly to no end. Let em cry - no sympathy from me.

jlebrasseur

You hit the nail on the head. When I worked for the railroad, I was expected to work the normal 40-hour week (which was okay), PLUS be on call 24/7/365 with no time off except a couple days a year when the company dictated I could have a day off.

I missed family weddings, reunions, even going to movies or camping with friends because I was expected to answer the phone 24/7/365 and immediately be in the truck and on my way to some random railroad crossing with NO delay. I was not paid for that time either. The first year, I made the mistake of traveling 1.5 hours away to spend Christmas with my family and was called out. I was nearly fired for taking 1.5 hours to get back home and to the activated crossing; only lights and bells in the middle of nowhere, something that could have waited.

Life truly sucked back then. The employer wanted more and more of me, yet did not even want to supply the tools to do the job correctly (I could not even get bee spray for the infested signal cases even though I am allergic to bees). I was once stung and yelled at for dropping what I was doing and going to the hospital. I was ridiculed for nearly passing out from heat stroke and asking the supervisor if I could go to the corner store to get some water. Morale among all of us was incredibly low as the office staff back in Shelby Twp. barked orders at us.

They finally canned me when I reported them for trying to force me to falsify federal documents pertaining to the monthly safety test results of the railroad crossings in the area. Being let go from that job was the best thing that has happened to me. I instantly became much less stressed, found myself actually being able to enjoy life, and have been able to spend some much needed time with family.

Now I am doing something I absolutely love, and I am putting in the hours needed to get the job done and nothing more, yet at the same time, I am much more productive and willing to go above and beyond simply because I am happy doing this work.

If employers would be a bit less demanding of their skilled workers, and treat them much better and with respect, they would actually find that the productivity and loyalty of their employees skyrocket. European countries have done this and have found that it works wonders; the work days are much shorter and employees actually have time to spend with their friends and family, and at the same time they are much more productive and loyal at work than their American counterparts.

ghjhs

The proublem as I see it,are the employers in MI willing to pay the skiled workers a deacent wage to live on.Trickey Rickey gave big tax breaks to his rich buddys that owen factorys and was ordered to sighn the right to work law I just wonder? Look at all the temp services that have poped up in the past few years,yea you can get a temp job for $ 8.00 an hr with no benifites,no Insurance and Snyder wants us to believe MI leads the nation in growth, that is not true. Syder is bough and paid for by Devos and his rich buddys and will do what is best for them not the average worker trying to get along, Snyder has cut so many programs that help the poor,raised tax on seniours,doubled fines to generate money for the general fund.

skyking007

Lets work on the cost of education instead of giving big tax breaks to companies that won't pay a decent wage. Bring back the unions and apprentice programs. Lets get rid of Rick Snyder and get a Govenor that is for the working man.

ghjhs

Not only Trickey Rickey, but all the Republicans in Lancing who ruberstamp everything the big money supporters want pushed through.

Say no to new taxes

There's a billboard on I-94 on the way from Chicago advertising openings for maintence tech positions at one of the larger steel mills, claiming the average salary is $90, 000 per year. What it doesn't tell you is your going to work 70 hour weeks to make that kind of income.

nextdoor

What ever happened to hiring a worker and training them to do the job.

 

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