Why is there a lack of skilled workers in the St. Louis region?

By on January 5, 2018

From St. Louis Public Radio:  There are plenty of well-paying jobs open across the region and country looking to be filled – but there is a shortage of skilled workers to fill them.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the shortage of skilled tradesmen and women in the region. Chris Mallow, director of standard products at Watlow and Ranken Technical College president Stan Shoun joined the discussion to address what can be done moving forward.

Mallow said Watlow and similar companies are trying to hire new people to handle the companies’ growth while also trying to replace really experienced skilled workers.

“It’s really compounded the problem for us,” he said. “It’s not only at our engineering level; it is at the technician, skilled tradesmen and at our operator level as well.”

Shoun said the sheer number of qualified workers and the loss of technical schools are among the causes for the decline in trade skills.

“There are six million unfilled jobs in the U.S. right now; 77 million baby boomers trying to retire; U.S. population is in decline; immigration is a bad word,” Shoun said, listing reasons why skilled workers are hard to find. “You got the numeric side of it, but you also got the preparation side of it as well.”

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