Manufacturers Hiring but Can't Find Enough Workers

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

After the recession, the manufacturing industry is bouncing back. However, there's another problem as several Mid-Michigan companies can't seem to find enough qualified workers to fill their job openings.

Dowding Machine in Eaton Rapids is one of them. In 2008, the company had to lay off 100 workers due to the recession. Now, business has turned around.

"We've rehired at least 100. We employ around 220 people now and it just looks like it's going to continue,' said Jeff Metts, president of Dowding Machine.

In fact, Metts' company has hired 30 people in the past two months and is still looking, especially for employees to run high-tech machines.

Why is it difficult to find qualified candidates for manufacturing? According to Doug Stites from Michigan Works, part of the problem is when jobs were cut during the recession, training also stopped.

"There's no quick way that you can get a computer numerical control operator or highly-skilled welders quickly," Stites said.

However, the industry is in need of new hires and a company like Dowding Machine is willing to train the right person.

"The biggest thing I'm looking for is if somebody has the heart to work, you can teach them anything else," said Metts.

Metts says he'd like to see more young people join the industry and hopes to train a new generation of manufacturing workers.

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  • by no degree Location: jackson on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:45 PM
    I have no college degree and make double what my wife does with a BA.
  • by Non-Anon Location: Michigan on Mar 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM
    What workers want is a job with a safe environment and a living wage. What employers want seems to be someone who is an expert and has lots of experience in the job they are offering willing to accept minimum wage. (Is min. wage still $7.40 / hr., $296 / wk gross?) Why can't employers being willing to pay a living wage; and, if the new hire doesn't know the job, train therm?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 14, 2012 at 06:50 AM
    I have read the story and the responses, I agree that for what they are willing to pay this is a long drive in most likely an unreliable car. MIN. Wage (?) for factory work? I wouldn't want that job either, back breaking work for no money, and no benefits either. Think this company needs to offer between $12 and $14 an hour and maybe some kind of insurance and I bet you will get people willing to take the job. I realize that the top unemployment is $360 a week but after taxes at this job it would be less, and you are asking people to stand on their feet 8 hours a day lifting how much weight, and if they are lucking 2 10 minute breaks and a half hour lunch. You need to make the job look a little more appealing.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 14, 2012 at 03:01 AM
    Bottom line is that it is just too expensive to travel anywhere,not to mention the cost of maintaining a vehicle that was built to fail,all vehicle are untrustworthy,and has anyone been to a grocery store lately? OMG it's no wonder why people are staying home and milking there unenjoyment checks cause in the end it's cheeper and u preserve miles that would be put on ur vehicle that is very costly to repair and maintain.
    • reply
      by Jason on Mar 14, 2012 at 08:39 AM in reply to
      Maybe vehicles are untrustworthy because people don't do any maintenance on them. Can't be all of them, mine seems to do just fine. Take care of what you got and it will take care of you.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2012 at 05:39 PM
    Who needs a college degree to run a mop. If someone goes to college they don't want a minimum wage job. Even jobs that pay 10- 20 dollars a hour, the money is eatten up in gas to go to and from. When pay day comes you have less than what a minimum wage job would have payed because of high gas prices. There is no winning here. Either move closer to work or work more hours and less days to travel.
    • reply
      by Sans on Mar 14, 2012 at 05:51 AM in reply to
      Where did you get the idea that a college education guaranteed you anything? There are lots of people with college educations working as truck drivers, on the line in factories and even pushing a mop! People with college degrees working at McDonalds! Most of these people don't earn $20 an hour, and minium wage is $10. So stop thinking that because you have a "College Education" you are entitled or special, cuase your not. You want to earn the big bucks you start out small, and WORK your way to the big money. Thats the way life is. So take off the rose colored glasses and take a job doing anything. Because anything is much better than doing nothing.
      • reply
        by Courtney on Mar 14, 2012 at 04:40 PM in reply to Sans
        Minimum wage is actually $7.40 Yes, doing something is better than sitting at home with an education and loans and no money. I have a Master's Degree and work at an Auto Parts store because I can't find a job in my chosen field. It is a "day job" while I work towards finding my "dream job". At least I am not milking off my fellow taxpayers. Any job is better than no job. It is called survival.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2012 at 01:02 PM
    I see people comming into our company almost daily looking for work. The problem is most companies are not going to hire someone even with experience at $20 an hour. They are going to start a a low rate, to see what you know and to see how you will work out. There are a lot of people who think they should start at $20.00 and hour, and if they heard the company is going to only hire at X they don't bother to go out there. Lansing to Eaton Rapids is about 17 miles, and multiply that by 5 days a week and a round trip of 34 miles and add in the cost of gas, and you see why in at least this case offering more money might get more people out to apply.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2012 at 08:10 AM
    The 11pm news claimed this was a good paying job, $10-$12 an wonder they can't find "experienced" applicants. Who can afford to even get to their place of work for "these" wages. Are you brainwashed yet to believe these are "livable" wages?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 14, 2012 at 05:53 AM in reply to
      It is a livable wage, but the problem is the drive to and from work with todays gas prices. If you have no job than this is really a good thing. A job is always better than no job.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2012 at 07:49 AM
    If they would make the employee responsible for their unemployment insurance and not the employer, you will see more people working and a lower rate. If you collect it for two years that means you are at a higher risk of collecting again and you should pay more.
  • by Thomas Location: Lansing on Mar 13, 2012 at 05:00 AM
    I wonder how many of the original 100 who were laid off in 2008 returned to their old jobs? I doubt that these are manufacturing positions that would give someone a career for the next 25 to 30 years.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 13, 2012 at 04:55 AM
    There are two problems here 1. The businesses don't want to pay a lot for new hire people. 2. People want to earn the "big bucks" and if they don't get the money they think they are worth they won't take the job. I remeber applying for a job and having to send with my resume my wage requirements. I got called for an interview, and the job was a 40 minute drive from where I live. They offered me the job for minium wage, and I had to turn it down. I would have taken the job if I would have been able to live on what they wanted to pay me. There has to be a way of meeting in the middle, paying a little more and working for a little less.
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