Collin County Manufacturers Looking to Hire

Employers have trouble filling vacant positions

By Catherine Ross
|  Friday, Oct 21, 2011  |  Updated 6:46 PM CDT
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While unemployment holds steady in Texas, there's one industry with plenty of job openings -- manufacturing.

Catherine Ross/Plano Journalist

While unemployment holds steady in Texas, there's one industry with plenty of job openings -- manufacturing.

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Manufacturing businesses say they are having trouble finding potential employees with the right skill sets.

The unemployment rate in Texas hovers at about 8.5 percent, but the manufacturing industry has plenty of job vacancies.

"It's always going to be around," said Virgil Gist, owner of Plano Sheet Metal. "Everyone is always going to need metal products."

Gist said he has two vacancies, but filling them is matter of getting the right person with the right skill set.

"It's getting guys in that can do the job, with the capability of learning the job," he said.

According to national survey by Deloitte LLP and the Manufacturing Institute, 67 percent of manufacturers are seeing a moderate to severe shortage of qualified workers.

Experts say a skills gap is keeping thousands of jobs open nationwide in an industry with competitive wages.

"Industry, manufacturing -- all of these businesses in our area are changing so rapidly," said Natalie Greenwell, director of the Center for Workforce & Economic Development at Collin College. "As soon as an employee was let go in a recession, that same employee coming back cannot find their same job."

Greenwell said her office offers training to help people out of work tweak their skill sets in order to qualify for jobs that already exist.

In the meantime, Gist said that small business would not survive if it can't produce.

"If you can't get the product out, you're not going to keep a customer around very long," he said. "They're going to go somewhere where they can."

Nationally, it's estimated there are 600,000 vacant manufacturing positions.

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