GRCC In the News, 1-10-13

Out of hands: With skills scarce, some West Michigan manufacturers train their own talent

January 9, 2013; Crain’s Detroit Business

Orders are up at West Michigan’s factories. But the number of people with the skills to fill them is down. Way down.

“There are not enough skilled people to go around,” said Michael Kiss, head of the applied technology department at Grand Rapids Community College and coordinator of its manufacturing apprenticeship program. “We have been getting calls every day of the week for the past six months” from employers trying to fill openings.

The companies calling GRCC’s Applied Technology Center range from Grand Rapids’ oldest to newest. All want tool-and-die makers, machinists and welders who can be productive the minute after they finish filling out their employment paperwork, Kiss said.