A metal-parts factory here has been searching since the fall for a machinist, an assembly team leader and a die-setter. Another plant is offering referral bonuses for a welder. And a company that makes molds for automakers has been trying for seven months to fill four spots on the second shift.
“Our guys have been working 60 to 70 hours a week, and they’re dead. They’re gone,” said Corey Carolla, vice president of operations at Mach Mold, a 40-man shop in Benton Harbor, Mich. “We need more people. The trouble is finding them.”
Over the next five years, between 75,000 and 90,000 skilled workers will be needed to plug the labour shortage. Recruitment will mainly be in areas of advanced technology, construction, mineral exploration, agriculture and petroleum.
Southeast Raleigh has an unemployment rate of roughly 14 percent, three times that of Chapel Hill and other nearby affluent communities. Many local residents lack the education and skill levels needed to obtain high-tech jobs. Instead of trying to launch Internet startups, Robinson helps local entrepreneurs open flower shops, auto repair garages and bakeries. Over the last two years, he has also trained and placed 30 people in construction jobs. His new goal is to train people for entry-level jobs at Wal-Mart and Wells Fargo.