CPA & Business Advisory Blog


Winning the Battle for Talent in Manufacturing

A strong manufacturing industry is critical to advancing and maintaining our nation’s economic health.  Investments in manufacturing have a strong ripple effect for all sectors. In fact, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, for every 100 jobs in a manufacturing facility, an additional 250 jobs are created in other sectors.

So, what happens when there is a great divide between the skills of available workers and those demanded by manufactures? It’s a debate our country has been having for more than a decade, and the gap is widening. According to the recent skills gap report by the Manufacturing Institute, “The Skills Gap in Manufacturing: 2015 and Beyond,” over the next decade nearly 3 ½ million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.

In Ohio, the reality of that gap is emerging as baby boomers prepare to leave the workforce. Unfortunately, many job seekers don’t have the skills to participate in a more modern and advanced manufacturing sector. Others lack STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) skills.

There are more than 14,500 manufacturing companies throughout Ohio, from small and mid-sized to Fortune 500. They account for more than $87 billion of output; Northeast Ohio represents nearly $44 billion of that output. However, there are still thousands of unfilled jobs in manufacturing. The good news is that there are many programs underway set to bridge the skills gap. Here’s a look at a few:

  • 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 ofOhio 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 non-profit 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 county-wide 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 8-week paid internship at Swagelok Company. Upon successful completion of the internship you will be offered a full-time position at Swagelok.
  • Honda North America’s new, $1 million EPIC initiative targeting the skills gap with programs for middle school students, community college attendees and existing workers at Honda’s three Ohio manufacturing plants. EPIC (enthusiasm, passion, innovate, Commit) is a four-pronged initiative in partnership with middle and high schools, community colleges, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) suppliers designed to change the conversation about manufacturing career paths.

While Northeast Ohio manufacturers share the common yet multifaceted problem of hiring and retaining quality manufacturing talent for the long-term, programs like these are beginning to bridge the talent gap. The Manufacturing Group at Skoda Minotti is actively engaged in MAGNET, WIRE-Net and other manufacturing industry groups that will play a big role in reversing this trend.

In the next blog in our manufacturing series, we’ll take a look at the importance of a cost study to a manufacturer’s bottom line. Our experts can help manufacturing companies define a strategy that best meets their growth objectives. For a no-risk analysis of your manufacturing business, please click here.

For more information about how to grow your manufacturing business, please contact Jon Shoop at 440-605-7107 or

Today's Manufacturer

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