OT: skills shortage



It would be different if it actually GOT to the offer point. Sadly most of the applicants bail before an offer is even put on the table. I would be fairly sure what they are offering probably isn't in the top 20% of what the skills are demanding in the marketplace though, rarely will you find that, imho.
--
Anthony

You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
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<snip>

<snip> Wants or needs?
How about a specific list of objective testable skills?
In the few years before I retired, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to get exactly this from our local employers. Like pulling teeth out of a chicken.
Uncle George
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My experience is that few of the employers or their employees have all of the skills they need. Read the thread about how to measure a cone for a glimpse. How many companies out there have annual training budgets? Hell, fewer and fewer companies will even consider sending employees to off- site training classes. People can bitch all they want about a lack of skilled employees. Do they offer apprenticeship programs? Tuition reimbursement? Do they send people off for factory training on equipment and software? The answer is no. They want the employee to show up trained, skilled and willing to work for less money than the industry average.
Employees in general aren't much better IMO. I recently had a conversation with a 24 year old guy, a shipping clerk at a decent size company. He informed me that I had it much easier in my day than he does today. Huh?
He went on to complain that he couldn't earn enough to get his own place, yada, yada, yada. So, I asked hime some questions. What kind of car does he have? Does the company offer dental, medical, 401k, Tuition reinbursment, etc?
Turns out he's driving a two year old car that he bought (financed) new for $28k. Then sunk another $5k into for a sound system, wheels and tires. I asked him where he was going after work. He was going to go shoot pool and have a few beers.
The company offered all of the above benefits, yet he was not taking advantage of a single one. I told him he should give himself a raise by going to see the dentist, get a check-up and enroll in some night classes, not to mention max out his 401k contribution.
He told me that he couldn't afford to contribute to his 401k nor could he come up with the up front money for night classes. Then I told him you need a part time job and you need to sell your car and by a crasher. He says, "I shouldn't have to do that." "Well" I told him, "I had it easy (according to him) and those are the things I did." I worked two jobs until I got on my feet and then I went to school at night.
I then asked him why he felt entitled to own a new car while he was living at home sucking off his parent's teat. He got pissed and walked away.
If I were in his shoes, I'd be busting my ass trying to get into the machine shop and learn a trade. I would also be taking advantage of the tuition program. But what do I know? I had it easy.
--

Dan


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wrote:

Where's the objective testable [with criteria] skills list?
When the education community went through this the last two times [outcomes based education in the 60s/70s and then compentency based education in the 90s/90s] the result was that we would send a dozen or more candidates to the companies with openings who had specified the skills/knowledge required they required and the criteria to be used to evaluate. These candidates scored at the top of the objective evlauations . In only a very few cases were any of these people hired. They were [pick one] too tall, too short, too old, too young, married, single, too dark, too light, male, female, etc. etc. etc.
Lack of trained/skilled/educated people [and by extension the educational system] is simply another in a long line of excuses by overpaid management unable to cut it in a results-oriented manufacturing environment, i.e. getting the product out the door, on time, under budget, to the customer's satisfaction, and at a profit.
Uncle George
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Bingo.
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There you go. There are none.
There is such a huge disparity in knowledge and capability from shop to shop in this country it's amazing. There are some real world class operations out there, and then there are places where you wonder how they stay in business.
It's to be expected though. There are no uniform training standards for the metalworking trades. Worse yet are the white collar jobs in manufacturing. Engineering and management skills are all over the place as well.
--

Dan


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There are (perhaps not in the US).
I think you might be looking at this issue the wrong way. How can there be relevant standards when there is no definition of a "machinist" or "toolmaker" or whatever.
I use a die grinder to flatten the bottom of trim/flange/restrike steels for the dies we build. My roommate uses a surface grinder. I haven't touched a milling machine in five months, my roommate uses them daily. I stone and polish dies for days or weeks on end (and there *is* a skill in doing it correctly) while my roommate only uses diamond paste and very infrequently. The parts our dies make must look cosmetically flawless, my roommate's dies make parts which are buried in a car. We are both Ontario Tool and Die Maker Apprentices. Should we write the same test? Could I do his job and vice versa?
Regards,
Robin
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There are, but not as many as there used to be.

I think that as much as than anything specialization has helped kill formal training programs. There are a set of basic skills required no matter what you end up doing. The weak areas that I see are: math, metrology, blueprint reading, and basic methodology. Surely you don't need a four year apprenticeship to learn those skills. A two year course would be overkill IMO.
In another post you mentioned Europe and their training programs. Having worked with some of those guys, I find them to be a little more rigid and less willing to think outside of the box. There is a downside to serving an apprenticeship and then spending your whole career with just one company. Namely you never get exposed to other methods and company cultures.
I find that some of the best guys that I've worked with over the years have done some bouncing around. It gives them a broader range of experience. Working for the right job shop will expose a person to a wide variety of work and methods as well. Problem is, working at the wrong one will teach you bad habits and poor practices.
--

Dan


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Of course, back when "you were a boy" you could go get a cavity filled, or see a doctor, without having to take out a second mortgage!
:^)
Jim
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??
Did you respond to the wrong post?
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Dan


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Dan, Have you ever made a difference with a young guy though? It can be wonderfully refreshing when you pull it off. I rode a slacker really hard once. Ran into to him last year and he turned out okay. I took a guy pushing a broom and taught him how to make things. He told me how I had changed his life, both of his brothers had given up and committed suicide. He finished a five year tool maker apprentice afterwards. I fired a young guy who was working as a machine shop apprentice, then explained to his dad the kid loved to work on cars not machined parts, and there is no shame in that. The kid came back 6 months later driving his restored and upgraded 53 Corvette, to thank me.
Some of you grumpy old bastards need to give it a try.
Gary H. Lucas
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I have. Maybe not in as dramatic a way as you have. I think people have got to want to change at some level in order for you or me to make a difference.
I also get asked for career advise quite a bit. Younger guys that want to know how to get ahead or improve their skills. A number of those guys have taken my advice and are doing very well.

Good call. There is nothing worse than doing work you hate.

Good luck with that.
--

Dan


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Snip
Dan, You are right, you can't change everyone. In fact you can't really change anyone. What you are looking for is a diamond in the rough, that just hasn't been discovered yet, and may never be without a little help.
I once said "There are no bad employees, only bad management" I couldn't have been more wrong!
Gary H. Lucas
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Lots of good observations and opinions but still no list of the skills that the companies are short of or the criteria to be used to determine when a person has that skill.
Does anybody or any organization hase such a list? There are several lists on the internet/web but these are generic to tool/die and precision machining programs. Is this a case of "I can't tell you what I want, but I will know it when I see it"?
Until we have such a list we are simply debating the gender of angels. Some skills are best taught by the family, some in primary/secondary schools, some in trade/tech schools, and some on the job.
If you are going to "hollar for help" lets be specific about what you want/need.
Uncle George
Uncle George
On Wed, 23 Nov 2005 12:06:11 -0600, F. George McDuffee

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The NIMS skill set is the one used by industrial-training planners:
http://www.nims-skills.org/home/index.htm
And the US Govt. report that you pointed to in an earlier message has good lists of basic skills that employers say they want and need. Put the two together, and I think you have a good basis for judgment.
-- Ed Huntress
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(top posted) When a competency list for a position is provided, it is assumed these are "requirements" and not just characteristics that it would be nice if the job candidate possessed.
We will ignore the SCANS list because of the difficulty in objectively measuring the candidate "objectively" [which can be operationally defined as obtaining the same rating from two or more raters.] I sometimes refer to the SCANS skills/abilities compilation as a "boy scout list," i.e. brave, trustworthy, loyal reverent, obedient, etc. as there are few testable skills (in contrast to the merit badges.)
When Ed observers "The NIMS skill set is the one used by industrial-training planners:" he identifies a major part of the problem without knowing it. How do these skills match up with what industry needs, or even more importantly what industry wants? Also NIMS is not an organization that employes machinists.
A further problem in these lists is validating the requirements. I wish that I could provide the group with transcripts or videos of the many meetings with local manufacturers where we attempted to extract exactly this information. The first problem was the majority of people attending the meeting had no real contact with or knowledge of the actual production process. The people actually doing the work were too busy "getting the product out the door" to see us. In other cases where the meeting participants had some connection with the manufacturing process, they were years out of date, suggesting requirements for equipment and processes that had long been eliminated at that location, such as hand scraping machine slides or bearings, and hydro-tel hydraulic trace operation.
A parallel problem was the lack of common requirements between companies, even in the same general product areas for positions with the same (or close) names. When the reasonable requirements for a technician from companies A, B & C were combined, the result was that a licensed engineer with years of experience would have trouble meeting them all.
The NIMS competency list can be reviewed at http://www.nims-skills.org/appren/compets.htm Most of the people in the alt.machines.cnc group are full time professionals in the metal working field. I suggest that you print off a copy of this list and mark the items you feel you are competent in.
The second step is to estimate the skill, talent and experience level of someone who meets *ALL* these requirements/competencies, and guesstimate how much you would have to pay such an individual, assuming they were not in business for themselves. ==>Remember these are the apprenticeship competencies. <= Other competency lists can be seen at: http://www.uaw-daimlerchryslerntc.org/training/SkilledTrades.pdf [76 pages] ==> Another item I would like to see implemented, and likely why specific requirements/criteria are not published, is that when 25 or 30 candidates who meet the stated requirements apply, but are not accepted, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission starts an investigation to see if there are some "unwritten" criteria such as age, ethnicity, gender or national origin. <= An academic paper worth reading can be downloaded at http://www.uml.edu/Dept/RESD/bfForrant_Wilkinson.pdf
Another item of interest can be seen at http://www.amtonline.org/document_display.cfm?document_id (6 (AMT - Association for Manufacturing Technology was NMTBA - National Machine Tool Builders Association)
Uncle George
On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 16:10:26 -0500, "Ed Huntress"

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There are plenty of examples in the report, George. Does a lack of ability to test signify that the supposedly untestable skills aren't important? As difficult as it may be to test the abilities listed in the SCANS reports, they could well be the important ones.

NIMS skill sets were compiled from interviews and other input from shop owners, plant managers, and employees.
But I'm losing track of where you're going here. You opened this thread by expressing amazement that factory managers couldn't find competent workers. Then you said:
"Lack of trained/skilled/educated people [and by extension the educational system] is simply another in a long line of excuses by overpaid management unable to cut it in a results-oriented manufacturing environment, i.e. getting the product out the door, on time, under budget, to the customer's satisfaction, and at a profit."
It appears you were saying that there are plenty of trained and skilled people around. Is that the case?
It also appears you're saying that industry's problem is that it doesn't know what it wants in its people. But, from the SCANS report, there seems to be general agreement that there are certain abilities that are required; the government says that more than 50% of high school graduates don't have them.
So, rather than criticize the various lists and solutions that have been suggested, can you tell us what you think the problem is? Are there plenty of skilled workers, unrecognized by industry? Or is industry setting its sights too high? Or what?
-- Ed Huntress
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says...

This sort of sounds like the *real* problem that manufacturers are wailing about, honestly.
It isn't that they can't GET folks with skills. It's that they 'feel like' they have to pay too much money to do so.
This is sort of akin to the effect where companies start to complain bitterly about how there aren't enough engineers graduated in the US, at just about the same time when engineers find they can command a comfortable salary which one can actually live on.
Jim
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wrote:

needs.
Sorry I missed this thread, i should refresh. There has always been a 1-10 ratio of people with brains vs those without. I guess it's about the same ratio concerning spines. But the reality is, we are short on bus drivers, not bus riders. I agree, without bus riders there is no bus buissiness, but at this point we are low on bus drivers. Soooo, since there's lots of money floating around from low interest rates people are literally throiwing money at that problem. they even gave their solution a name..."automation".
We need people who are raised with the idea working for a living is honorable. As long as we teach kids in school to get a good education so you make a lot of money for doing nothing we wont have whats needed to continue being the greatest manufacturing nation on earth.
Anybody remember the episode when George Jetson broke his finger...there were no sprockets that day.......
Everyone knows whats needed,.... a culture of honorable people who are willing to kick ass for the right to belong to the greatest nation on Earth, or the Earth has ever seen.
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* wrote:

Shame they can't figure out how to fix their own country. Or maybe it isn't, Mexico with its act together could be really traumatic for us gringos.
--
--John
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