Monday, August 18, 2008

The Era of Stolen Workers

I recently came across an editorial in Metalforming which I found extremely interesting. The editorial was titled, “Labor Shortage? Grow, and Keep, Your Own.” We’ve all known for quite some time that skilled labor is a growing shortage within the United States. Companies are having a harder time finding and hiring employees who already have the skills necessary to complete the job. That’s why Tooling U is so successful – companies can focus on hiring a dependable worker and worry about training them later.

In the past, companies who lacked skilled employees simply stole employees from another rival company by offering better hours, wages or working conditions. Manufacturers in South Carolina and Alabama lured workers from Ohio and Michigan by offering sunny Decembers. Steelworkers in the Ohio Valley were lured to new companies by promises of higher pay and advancement. This era is over.

Across the United States, small and large businesses alike are finding it difficult to find and retain skilled workers. Manufacturing is shifting toward higher skilled, higher paying jobs and as a result, the applicant pool is shrinking. The editorial pointed out that the top four most difficult jobs to fill are for engineers, machinists/machine operators, skilled trades and technicians. According to the article, one company, The Minster Machine Co. in Ohio, has discovered a way to increase retention within its ranks. It has implemented an engineering internship program which begins engineering students on their way to a career with the company. Minster has found that over 95% of the students in their program graduate, and 95% of those engineers stay in Ohio to work. This is impressive work when you consider that over half of Ohio’s engineering students leave the state to begin their career.

Educating employees is simply not enough when facing a labor shortage. Manufacturers need to be grooming future employees through internal training programs, internships, apprenticeships and affiliations with local vocational schools. Tooling U is taking an active stance in helping these programs work. We are currently a part of several educational partnership programs throughout the country.

If your company is not currently facing a labor shortage, it will be soon. As the workforce ages and retires, there will be fewer and fewer skilled workers to replace them. Consider getting your company involved in one of these programs – if you need help or don’t know where to turn, talk to Gretchen Schultz in our Business Development program. She’d be happy to help you get started on the way to recruiting and retaining your own employees.

In you are interested in reading the Metalforming Editorial, click here.

Sarah Wering
Marketing Manager

Friday, August 1, 2008

6th Annual Tooling U Golf Outing

The 6th Annual Tooling U Golf Outing and Sales Meeting was held Thursday and Friday, July 24 and 25, 2008. The event was kicked off by 12 straight hours of “Sales Meeting” at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Cleveland, complete with stimulating presentations by the Content, Marketing and Sales teams. The highlight of the day was the lack of flowcharts and PowerPoint presentations – thank you James Vickers!After the meeting, the sales team headed to Ohio City for some fine dining and muchas margaritas at Mamocho Mexican restaurant. The staff would again like to thank Mr. Vickers for moving the Friday morning meetings from 7:00 to 8:00 am. That extra hour allowed time for more margaritas, er…sleeping!

Friday morning found the sales team back at the Hilton Garden Inn for a few more hours of business before moving on to Thunder Hill Golf Club and Fish Hatchery in Madison, OH. Team Daniel Cremieux made an appearance for the second year in a row, but found some stiff competition from Team Roundtree & Yorke. Hats off to both for their team spirit and inspiring a new award category for next year’s event – “Ugliest Team Shirt”. There are not many people who can pull off bright red shirts adorned with various fishing apparatus, or wear pink and teal palm trees with such unabashed pride.

The teams teed off to begin an arduous 18 holes of golf on a course with arguably more water than green. It is still up for debate what is more dangerous – the sand traps, the water hazards or the people driving the golf carts. Some drivers needed to be reminded that they were not on the tea-cup ride at the state fair, nor are “donuts” appropriate on a golf course. Once again it was proven that golf balls don’t float, ugly shirts improve your game, Chris “Seth Rogen” Pinner should never have been given a drivers’ license and golf scores don’t improve as the day goes on. Most important however, is the obligatory injured team member whose sole responsibility is to keep the golfers hydrated. Many thanks to Gary Hill. You’re the best beer man Thunder Hill has ever seen!

After an exhausting 5 hours of trash-talk and poor sportsmanship, the group moved on to the Grand River Cellars Winery and Restaurant for dinner, the post-golf party and awards ceremony. The following awards were announced: Best Score was awarded to Tim Cunningham, Dan Pruitt and Toni Neary who all received Gift Certificates to McCormick & Schmick; Greg Herlevi, Cindy Bernosky and Len Scaffidi were awarded Gift Cards to P.F. Changs and an assortment of golf instruction books for Lowest Putts AND Worst Score; The Longest Drive prize went to Jeremy Sobeck who took home a Ping Craz-e Anser Putter; Dan Sloan took home a Nike Tour Sand Wedge for Closest to the Pin; and Tim Cunningham was awarded a Ping G12 Hybrid Club for the Longest Putt. An assortment of door prizes were also awarded: A pair of much-needed noise-cancelling headphones went to Michelle Robinson; a $50.00 Gift Certificate to the spa of his (wife’s) choice went to Wes Howard; I won a $20.00 Chipotle Burrito Card; Katie Strand and Gary Hill each took home golf instruction books; and Chris Pinner received a $75.00 Gift Certificate to McCormick & Schmick.

Many thanks to the Golf Outing Committee for putting this event together, and to all participants for providing such an enjoyable day, despite the general lack of skill.
VP Operations