Could reshoring be hindered by an ill-prepared workforce?

Posted by LDonia on 07/10/2012

Learn SOmethingAdd Jeff Bollengier and Richard Stump to the list of business owners who have chosen to brig their manufacturing operations back from China to the United States.

Bollengier and Stump are the makers of Calibowl.  In an interview with Erchi Zhang at SFGate.com, the two acknowledge that they initially chose to manufacture their product in China because they thought that seemed to be standard practice.

But as we’ve reported at ManufactureThis, there are countless reasons why companies choose to relocate their jobs from China to the United States. These include, but are not limited to: cost efficiency, easier to communicate with manufacturing staff, ability to easily travel to the manufacturing site, and fewer manufacturing mistakes.

While a reshoring trend would certainly be exciting, not just for manufacturing companies, but also for unemployed manufacturing workers around the country, there is one major problem: a lack of workers.

This may sound unreasonable, given the 8.2% unemployment rate.  However, when companies began shipping jobs overseas, many community colleges gave up on trying to train future manufacturing workers.

Zhang spoke with Fred Gapasin, vice president of operations at Gigatronics, a company that manufactures microwave components:

(Gapasin) said he was looking for technicians who could repair the machines used by his company, but found the skill "a dying art" in the United States. Unable to find enough technicians, he said his company is considering a move to Singapore because that is where his competitors are based.”

Companies are increasingly finding the “Made in the USA” label to be an effective selling point, both in the United States and abroad, but now they’re faced with a workforce that may be underprepared for the work necessary.

We recently reported on several community colleges in Connecticut that have opened manufacturing centers in the hopes of graduating a specialized workforce for Connecticut manufacturers.

While this is a great step, it’s not enough. In our Manufacturing Plan, we lay out additional steps the federal government can take to help bring manufacturing jobs in China back to the United States, and to put more Americans back to work.

Photo by Flickr User CogDogBlog and used following Creative Commons License guidelines.

1 comment

Anonymous wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Ill-prepared work force...think not!

Our workforce could do the job! I am a Michigander and manufacturing is in our blood. Like any job...they have to train you to do what get the job done. Then it is up to the employee to help the employer on finding ways to make it a better product! So many people are without employment and have been for years, including myself. I would say that AMERICANS can do the job and we are prepared for work to come back to our soil!

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