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Help Wanted:


Recruiting & Retaining Quality Workers


The need to find and keep qualified workers has steadily increased in metalcasting facilities. JILLIAN KNUERR, ASSISTANT EDITOR


W ith an


unemploy- ment rate remaining uncomfort-


ably high, the misconception is that jobs are simply unavailable. However, in most metalcasting facilities, it’s the right employees who are simply not available. “Since a metalcasting facility is a


unique work environment, finding people who enjoy it and are willing to commit to its success is hard work in itself,” said Joyce Karnes, president of Positive Options Inc. and author of Supervisor’s Training Guide. Karnes is a long-time consultant within the metalcasting arena, focusing on super- visory development. More and more, facilities are mak- ing the move to automated shop floors and require more advanced technical skills from their employees. Often, the skills are hard to come by.


“We are automating a lot of our


systems in an attempt to help with retention,” said Ed Zellers, human resources manager, Waupaca Foundry, Tell City, Ind. “We are getting some of the tougher things out of our finishing rooms, but it requires more technical skills to operate the machinery.”


Identifying and


Addressing the Skills Gap Te U.S. unemployment rate cur-


rently is above 8%. However, manu- facturers and metalcasters alike report a shortage of workers to fill their available jobs. Tere is an imbalance in the types of open jobs and the workers available to fill them. “The reason manufacturers are


not filling positions is because they cannot find the people with the skills to fill them,” Zellers said. “Great jobs cannot be filled.” Various reports say anywhere


from 300,000 to as many as 600,000


manufacturing jobs remain open in the U.S. According to a recent Deloitte report, this is because mod- ern manufacturing requires a more skilled worker with advanced math, science and technology skills. The same report suggests skills attained with a 4-year college degree are sometimes outdated before loans are even fully paid, suggesting a need for a stronger focus on developing and retaining talent. “I believe that there is a significant


shortage in all positions,” said Ken Kurek, president and CEO of Wauke- sha Foundry Inc., Waukesha, Wis. “Tis is especially bad in highly skilled positions such as patternmakers, maintenance mechanics and welders, as well as technical positions such as engineers and metallurgists.” As a result, organizations are beginning to address the issue by creating programs and scholarships geared to attract and recruit


October 2012 MODERN CASTING | 31


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