March 19, 2013 |
Three jobs are open at Rodon Group, the plastic-parts manufacturer in Hatfield. But CEO Michael Araten isn't sweating it. Rodon works with local community colleges to make sure students - the firm's prospective employees - get the math and computer skills they need to work at the company making plastic parts for products such as bed frames and machinery. "We're willing to look at non-traditional methods," Araten said. Companies across the country have been working short-handed because it's hard to find workers with the skills they need.
January 29, 2013
By Stephen M. Curtis, Jerome S. Parker, Stephanie Shanblatt, and Karen A. Stout Federal economists estimate that two million jobs go unfilled today as a result of skills, training, and education gaps. In Pennsylvania, a report submitted last year by the governor's Manufacturing Advisory Council noted that the number of new workers entering the industry, coupled with the growth in manufacturing, has left a staggering gap of available skilled workers. Simply put: Every decent-paying job today takes more skill and more education, but too many Americans are not ready.
March 27, 2012
One recent afternoon, I found myself strolling across the South Street Bridge, over the Schuylkill and into West Philadelphia. The rebuilt bridge, a handsome, user-friendly example of contemporary civil engineering, opened in November 2010 to much fanfare after two years of construction and a decade of fraught planning negotiations. The result is impressive, featuring wide sidewalks, roomy bike lanes, colorful light fixtures, and ready access to the Schuylkill Banks path at its southern end. My thoughts inclined toward the symbolic significance of the bridge and its position between Philadelphia's academic nerve center and one of its most in-flux neighborhoods.
March 25, 2012 |
Harold's fork truck is rated for 4,000 pounds. He has to move and stack 10 skids (pallets) of paper, each weighing 1,500 pounds. What is the maximum number of skids he can lift at one time? If someone wants a job at Case Paper Co. , that person had better know how to calculate the answer. Even more basic: Can the person use a tape measure? "You'd be amazed at how many people can't read a ruler to one-sixteenth of an inch," said Lee Cohn, who directs production at the Philadelphia company.
February 29, 2012 |
Bucks and Montgomery County manufacturers are meeting Wednesday morning to talk about a key issue - after years of declines in manufacturing employment, they are facing looming shortages of highly skilled workers. "It's a huge problem," said Lisa Christman, senior human resources director at the K'nex toy manufacturing company in Hatfield and one of the organizers of Wednesday's meeting. Christman doesn't have to walk far from her office at K'nex to the factory floor, where injection molding machines spit out the brightly colored rods and connectors that combine to create construction-toy roller coasters and Ferris wheels.
January 19, 2012
HALF A BILLION dollars over four years. That's the astonishing amount a new report from Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative says has been spent on workforce development in the city. And if you don't quite know what "workforce development" means, you're in good company. Neither do most of the businesses in the city that might take advantage of publicly funded programs that train residents for jobs ... to say nothing of laid-off or unemployed workers who might access the services.
October 30, 2011 |
Textiles, once a signature craft of Philadelphia industry, teeters on the brink of extinction, with 178 companies left in a city that once housed many times that. There are hopes of sustaining the sector - mainly by connecting it with a younger generation of more design-oriented artisans. But to do so, the textile-manufacturing sector must overcome a daunting calculus: Are enough skilled workers available in the Philadelphia area to keep the existing companies alive long enough for the young entrepreneurs to grow enough business and expertise to sustain them?
October 23, 2011
Charles Allison Jr. is CEO of CWBiofuels in New York and a member of the Partnership for a New American Economy The level of uncertainty and despair stemming from Washington makes it hard to be optimistic about our nation's future. Three years into the recession, jobs have still not come back, and to many, the future still looks bleak. But Congress can change that outlook. It can put America back on the road to job creation. And the necessary steps do not require large capital investment, new spending, or higher taxes.
July 2, 2011 |
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - John Russo's chemical lab in North Kingstown has been growing in recent years, even in the deflated economy, and he expects to add 15 to 20 more positions to his 49 employees over the next year. But Russo, president of Ultra Scientific Analytical Solutions, is struggling to fill openings that require specialized training in a state where the jobless rate in May was 10.9 percent, the third-highest in the nation. "It's very difficult to find the right person.