Upstate Skilled Hourly Labor

· by Herb Dew

Herb is the CEO of HTI. He founded HTI in 1999 along with John Knight and David Sewell, and remains heavily involved in the organization today.
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Over the last several months all of our customers have had a sharply increased need in skilled hourly hiring. Maintenence Technicians, Machinists, Shipping/Recieving people, CAD, Tool and Die, etc. The challenge has always been recruiting for these groups on the manufacturing side. Our upstate tech schools do a great job of developing good folks in these areas. But not enough kids choose this direction and with the increased growth of manufacturing, particularly higher technology manufacturing, the labor market is tightening.

I think companies are going to begin to see the need to get aggressive and creative. Starting up apprenticeship programs to grow their own skill labor. Importing people with some relocation assistance into the upstate from depressed areas not recovering. Even beginning to do some military recruiting out of town. The military develops some of the best technical people and grabbing those people as they leave the service is a smart investment.

As competition grows I am concerned that labor rates will drive up as companies begin to use pay as a way to stay competitive. This is great for those candidates looking to make a job change, but tough for those companies at the lower end of the compensation scale.

The upstate will need to continue to explore ways of developing this emerging need: a smart and technically skilled hourly workforce.

Herb Dew