Where Has All the Talent Gone?

The global COVID-19 pandemic altered the world in just about every way imaginable. One of the most noteworthy was the labor shortage the pandemic left in its wake.

Visit any downtown and you’ll see “Now Hiring” posters in most fast-food chain or retail shop windows. Restaurants have hour-long (or longer) waits due to a lack of staff. And the manufacturing industry is no stranger to experiencing a lack of skilled labor.

Before the pandemic, the manufacturing industry had been struggling to find and retain talent. Now, a number of challenges exacerbated by the pandemic have made this issue worse. From a statewide shutdown to the present-day challenge of what is being termed “The Great Resignation,” manufacturers are faced with two critical questions: What are young people looking for in a manufacturing career and how do we recruit them?

“I really think that, no matter what avenue we are taking in recruitment the key to success is communicating what you do,” says Morrison. “As a company, we sponsor a lot of scholarships, participate in mentorship programs and provide current employees training and education opportunities. Additionally, we have continued to invest in our communities as well as the industry as a whole. We support our leadership team in participating as much as possible, for example, I serve on the education board for the PMA (Precision Metalforming Association) as well as a member of the CTE Robotics Board in Chelsea and much more. We're always trying to find unique ways that we can communicate to individuals about the amazing things manufacturing's doing and the career opportunities available.”

— Suzanne Morrison, Hatch Stamping Company

This is the first of a two-part series looking at manufacturing’s skilled labor gap in Michigan. Check out the first article from MiMFG Magazine.