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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