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Manufacturing and Distribution Workforce Challenges—and Resources to Help Companies Meet Them Head-On

Workforce challenges continue to be top of mind for Northeast Ohio manufacturing and distribution leaders. Today more than ever, finding and retaining qualified manufacturing and distribution talent is among a company’s toughest tasks.

The jobs are there; the workers are not.

Why is that? Several factors are at play. An aging manufacturing and distribution workforce creates large voids of experience at all levels. Fewer high school students are choosing to pursue manufacturing and distribution career paths. And many millennials choose college over vocational career paths, believing that manufacturing and distribution jobs either don’t pay well enough, or don’t have the upscale image of white-collar jobs.

Consider the costs of an under-staffed, under-trained workforce:

  • Lesser-quality products
  • Higher overtime costs
  • Increased production downtime and cycle time
  • Increased scrap costs
  • Under-motivated, over-worked employees
  • Decreased customer satisfaction due to potential lead-time, delivery and quality issues

At Skoda Minotti, our Manufacturing and Distribution Group professionals understand these challenges, and we can help.  We maintain longstanding relationships with leaders of this region’s premier manufacturing trade and training associations. We can connect the dots for manufacturing and distribution companies like yours—leading you to beneficial resources; helping you develop and implement better retention policies; connecting you to trade schools to aid in recruitment efforts; and much more.

Read more about Winning the Battle for Talent in Manufacturing

For example, there are many programs underway designed to bridge the skills gap for manufacturing and distribution companies. Three regional efforts of note include:

  • Ohio’s Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) Program is engaged in a number of initiatives. They include:
    • Partnerships with area colleges to provide employers with highly qualified interns with the applicable skills in engineering, design, marketing, accounting and IT
    • As a partner of Ohio Dream It. Do It., a Manufacturing Institute initiative, MAGNET works to connect current manufacturers and educators with students interested in the manufacturing field, with the goal of engaging and inspiring the next generation.
  • WIRE-Net, a nonprofit economic development organization, is dedicated to improving the community through nurturing manufacturing. The group offers programs and services that address employers’ workforce needs, including:
    • WorkAdvance is a countywide, sector-based workforce strategy designed to help fill “gateway” jobs and promote advancement opportunities through skill building and career coaching. The program will help individuals move along career pathways and employers find and promote new talent.
    • School-to-Career programs, housed at Max S. Hayes Career & Technical High School.
  • Cuyahoga Community College’s Right Skills Now Program, collaboration among MAGNET, Tri-C and Swagelok, combines 180 hours of training with 320 hours of paid internship to prepare individuals for a career in the manufacturing industry. Students scoring 70% or better with perfect attendance in training will be offered an eight-week paid internship at Swagelok. Upon successful completion of the internship they will be offered a full-time position at Swagelok.

If you want more information on these or other programs – or if you want advice about other recruitment and retention strategies, give us a call, and let’s have a discussion. We’re glad to help. Contact Brian Pallante at 440-449-6800 or

Today's Manufacturer

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