Baby Boomers leaving Tennessee's factories with a huge skills gap

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennessee’s skilled labor gap is bad now, and about to get a whole lot worse.

The Tennessee Manufacturers Association says there are currently about 5,000 manufacturers in the state employing more than 141,000 workers.

Association Director Denise Rice says she’s just finished visiting with many of those companies during a statewide tour, and everywhere she went the number one complaint was the lack of qualified employees.

To make matters worse, over the next few years factory owners will lose some 75,000 additional employees as the baby boom generation retires.

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Filling jobs toughest task for Tennessee manufacturers

With one of every four factory workers retiring in the next decade, Tennessee manufacturers say their biggest worry is getting enough qualified workers for the future for increasingly technology-based factories, even with an average manufacturing wage in the state of $66,000.

Despite the labor challenge, however, manufacturers are more optimistic since Donald Trump was elected president and the state revamped its tax system this year.

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Chattanooga manufacturing group picks new CEO

Denise Rice, who directs the Tennessee Manufacturers Association based in Nashville as part of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Chattanooga has deep manufacturing roots and the Tennessee Manufacturers Association will work with King and CRMA in their regional approach.

Tennessee manufacturers 'anticipate a labor gap'

“It’s probably no surprise to anybody that workforce is the No. 1 concern that came out of our survey,” Tennessee Manufacturers Association (TMA) Director Denise Rice recently told a Kingsport Chamber of Commerce roundtable discussion. “We anticipate a labor gap. … every plant tour I go to, this is the No. 1 issue.”

Arconic Funding Global Manufacturing Education

The manufacturer of lightweight metals, through its foundation’s Advanced Manufacturing Education Grant Program, will provide funding over the next two years to academic and training institutions in the U.S., Germany, Hungary, and the United Kingdom aim to educate 375 students through these grant programs.

WestRock to Buy Five Manufacturing Plants for $192M

WestRock will acquire five corrugated converting facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana from U.S. Corrugated, through which it provides a comprehensive suite of products and services to customers in a variety of end markets, including food & beverage, pharmaceuticals and consumer electronics. WestRock will not acquire U.S. Corrugated’s facilities in California, Georgia, and in Ashland, Ohio, nor its affiliates in New Jersey and Tennessee.

Manufacturers Rolling Up Their Sleeves to Work with Trump Administration, Congress to Strengthen NAFTA

Manufacturers are rolling up their sleeves to identify ways to modernize the 23-year-old NAFTA so the United States can be competitive in today’s global economy. The jobs of 2 million American manufacturing workers depend on trade with Canada and Mexico today. It’s most important that we protect those jobs and use this opportunity to create more.

Manufacturing Industry Critical to Economic Prosperity: Deloitte Survey of U.S. Public

More people understand modern manufacturing is high-tech. They expect jobs to involve innovation and advanced technology in the future, which is progress for the industry in realigning the image of what modern manufacturing looks like to the general public.

Manufacturers in Energy Supply Chain Cheer Executive Order

A recent poll conducted on Election Day found that 80 percent of Americans support increased production of oil and natural gas resources located here in the United States. Analysis has found that opening areas in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico could unlock as much as 3.5 billion barrels of oil, which translates into 840,000 jobs and roughly $70 billion in economic growth per year.

Regional education, training site planned for Cleveland

“I don't know anybody else doing anything exactly like this.”

 Denise Rice, Tennessee Manufacturers Association

CLEVELAND, Tenn — Bradley County officials are moving ahead with plans to reuse an old factory for an education, job training and retail site which some say is unlike anything in Tennessee.

Plans are to turn the 290,000-square-foot former American Uniform Co. plant off North Parker Street into a regional site where local companies can set up production to train workers, said Denise Rice, who directs the Tennessee Manufacturers Association.

"This idea is to bring industry to the school," said Rice, whose group is working with Bradley education and business leaders, some of which toured the sprawling 13-acre tract last week. "I don't know anybody else doing anything exactly like this."

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