Manufacturing in SA…
Looking To The Future
It will surprise many, if not most, San Antonians to learn that their Manufacturing Industry has been one of the largest pieces of the local economy for a very long time. Unlike industries that interact directly with the public, the Manufacturing Industry is largely invisible. However, the impact of the Manufacturing Industry on San Antonio’s economy is significant and vital to the community.
San Antonio’s Manufacturing Industry has quietly followed national and global trends. Business opportunities and jobs in relatively low-skill markets, like apparel manufacturing, have declined in the United States, while there is high demand for technology-based products and the skilled workers needed to make them in such industries as machinery, aerospace, motor vehicles, plastics, and the business of servicing the increasingly complex machines that make and support these products.
One of the biggest challenges San Antonio and the nation face is the shortage of workers with the skills needed for modern manufacturing. The industry today bears little resemblance to the outdated stereotype of low-wage workers making low-end products. The San Antonio Manufacturers Association (SAMA) continues to work with regional education and workforce groups to ensure an adequate supply of skilled workers is available to meet the Industry’s needs.
The Skills Gap
On December 14, 2011 SAMA hosted a town hall meeting for the purpose of assessing regional manufacturing industry immediate workforce needs.
The consensus of attending manufacturers indicated that the shortage of skilled labor is more intense than previously acknowledged in local and state reporting agencies and that immediate action is needed to address and resolve this crisis. Current skilled labor shortages are hindering regional manufacturers’ ability to efficiently meet existing workload demands and are also impacting their ability to pursue future business growth
The manufacturers had the greatest demand for highly trained, multi-skilled personnel that could support facility equipment maintenance and industrial control systems. The balance of the top five high-demand occupations identified by participants included a significant demand for skilled assemblers, manufacturing technologists and machinists.