In a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers late last year, 73% of manufacturers said attracting and retaining a quality workforce was a chief business challenge. Two-thirds said they were responding by giving more work to existing employees. There are other remedies, including hiring temporary workers, installing robots and partnering with schools to develop a new generation of employees. But, “the short-term response is to keep giving workers a lot of overtime,” says Denise Rice, director of the Tennessee Manufacturers Association.
The director of the Tennessee Manufacturing Association said Tuesday that Bradley County is in the top tier of counties when it comes to manufacturing, while emphasizing the need for workforce development.
Denise Rice was the keynote speaker for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce's annual Industry Appreciation Luncheon Tuesday afternoon held at the Cleveland Country Club.
"I feel like I am home," Rice said.
Rice said 75 percent of U.S. manufacturers are experiencing a moderate to severe shortage of workers, and 93 percent are predicting future talent shortages.
A group of 40 Fairview Middle School students congregated inside the Horn USA plant on Friday as part of an event to celebrate Manufacturing Day.
A total of 180 students from Page High School, Fairview middle and high schools and Summit High School participated in the event hosted by the Williamson County, Inc. Chamber of Commerce.
Manufacturing Day, according to the official website, occurs on Oct. 6 and is meant to celebrate modern manufacturing and to inspire the next generation of manufacturers.
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.