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Manufacturers across the U.S. face a skilled labor shortage despite job availability

Posted at 7:25 AM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 11:57:06-04

Manufacturing employment has slowed across the U.S. although the demand for skilled labor still exists.

"Every day it is not unusual for me to hear a company needing 50 to 100 employees," said April Sailsbury, the executive director of OK2Grow, a nonprofit which works with students to provide career pathways.

In Oklahoma, hiring declined for the third consecutive month in June, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

It is a similar trend across the country with an average of 8,000 jobs added per month this year compared to 22,000 jobs per month in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although employment has slowed in the sector, some companies in the Tulsa metro area say they're thriving.

One of the companies recently recognized by OK2Grow is Broken Arrow's Hill Manufacturing, which makes parts for the oil industry in the state.

The fabrication manager at Hill Manufacturing was one of 46 award recipients for being an "Emerging Manufacturing Leader" for his leadership and contributions to his company.

He said the need for skilled workers will be even greater in the future, so it's important to start training students.

"The engineering aspect is getting more complex. I think for the newer industry of kids coming into manufacturing, it’s a lot different than it was 10 years ago," said Kevin Sagely.

OK2Grow created the "Skills-2Grow" program in which it works with five high schools in the Tulsa metro area to develop and train students in manufacturing, while they earn school credit.

To find out more about the programs the nonprofit offers, click here.

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