The Workforce We Need in Middle America

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The west coast is home to many high-tech companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Apple. The east coast harbors advanced institutions of higher education such as MIT, and manages the world's money at Wall Street. So you'd expect the workforce needs on the two coasts to focus on the kinds of new skills we concern ourselves with in this blog.

But what about Middle America, the traditional home of our low-tech manufacturing industries? Do they need the same kind of future-orieted skills as the east and west coasts?

Eric Burkland, President of the Ohio Manufacturers Association, published an editorial in the Cincinnati Inquirer recently entitled Workforce needs to be reformed. he writes,

In Ohio, our workforce has historically been a source of competitive advantage. Today, however, Ohio’s manufacturing competitiveness is threatened by a gap between the skills needs of 21st century manufacturing and the skills of the available workforce. Too many companies are having difficulty finding qualified workers to fill high-skill, high-wage job openings, and too many workers are not equipped with the skills they need to succeed in those jobs.

And what are the skills that he is looking for? Ohio manufacturers are looking for people who can " manage sophisticated, high-tech, high-skill, high-productivity operations with a global focus."

So it's not just the elites of the coasts that are looking for a new workforce: these needs exist in middle America as well.

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