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NY Times Story Highlights Manufacturing Workforce Issues


July 2, 2010 - 12:36pm
By R. Neal Elliott, Associate Director for Research

A story in today's New York Times highlighted a fact that ACEEE has been hearing for several years, which is there is a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers (as I discussed last year in my Senate Energy testimony). The Times story uses examples from Ohio that echo the same comments we heard two years ago when we did our stakeholder engagement for our Ohio study.

I heard the same comments last week when I participated in a stakeholder meeting for NYSERDA's Industrial program. Among the revealing comments was that the challenge is not just finding engineers, but also skilled trades like welders, machine operators, and mechanics. The joint DOE/EPA National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency has identified this as an important issue, commissioning a report on the topic which unfortunately did not delve deeply into the industrial sector needs.

This topic is one of ACEEE's four key elements of a national industrial policy to revitalize manufacturing:

  1. Access to new technologies (e.g., R&D)
  2. Access to industry-specific technical expertise and technical assistance
  3. Access to capital to make capacity modernizing investments
  4. Access to a trained workforce