Manufacturing needs new blood in order to breathe new life back into this segment of the economy, but finding young people and creating the programs needed to train them will take a lot of work on the part of the manufacturing community. Larry Taitel, President of Convertech Inc., a manufacturer of air shafts and chucks in Wharton, NJ, and Dr. John W. Kennedy, CEO of the New Jersey Manufacturer's Extension Partnership (NJMEP), are outspoken advocates of state-supported educational opportunities for students in machining.
New Jersey is home to 11,000 manufacturers, and yet, Taitel told PlasticsToday, finding the skilled machinists he needs to keep up with demand for his products is nearly impossible. Taitel currently employs 45 people, 35 of whom are production workers, in his 40,000-square-foot manufacturing area.
"Last year, I wasn't making my lead times for my current customers, so I had to tone down my marketing efforts. Every year it gets worse, and now it's intolerable," Taitel lamented, adding that he currently needs five more machinists just to keep up with demand. "But I can't find them."