Damon Hamblin with Long-Stanton Group in West Chester makes a part used under gas stations to help protect ground water from contamination. Long-Stanton employs about 75 – 10 more than last year. / The Enquirer/Liz Dufour
Alexander Coolidge reports:
This is what happens when manufacturing regains its stride:
• Intelligrated in Mason hires 300 new workers to design and build conveyer systems, and Mazak in Elsmere hires 75 new workers to make industrial cutting machines.
• Total Quality Logistics in Union Township, Clermont County, adds 200 jobs to move truckloads of manufacturing supplies and finished products.
• The University of Cincinnati Clermont College gets a $250,000 grant to train 100 new workers in advanced manufacturing skills.
Manufacturing employment in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky hasn’t been this robust since December 2008 – before the recession whacked 13,300 jobs from the sector. Today, manufacturing is leading the jobs recovery in Ohio, Kentucky and the region.
Latest state data show that 114,700 people are employed in manufacturing in the 15-county region. That’s one of every nine workers directly employed at companies making everything from airplane parts to electrical connectors to specialty trailers.
Add in the ripple effect, and the local impact grows. Economists estimate that every new manufacturing job creates roughly two more in trucking, banking, sales and other businesses – all needed to support the manufacturing surge.
“The multiplier effect is huge – the input is so great and so diverse that it reaches other sectors,” says LaVaughn Henry, vice president of the Cincinnati branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. “Those dollars roll over because as the sector grows, it touches other parts of the economy.”
A combination of factors is driving manufacturing’s rebound: The rising cost of making goods overseas is sending American jobs back home. U.S. labor is less costly and more productive than ever. And the quality of American-made goods has never been higher.
But the need for more workers also is exposing a manufacturing talent gap. Technology is doing the stamping, bolt-tightening and assembly-line work that manufacturing workers used to do. Today, employers need workers who can tell the high-tech machinery exactly what to do.
Until more workers are trained in those skills, the recovery won’t be as strong as it could be.
“Doing the same, repetitive task over and over is on its way out,” says Dennis Ulrich, director of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College’s Workforce Development Center in Evendale. “There are still machine operators, but those require more skills.”
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