Qualified Workers Wanted - The Jobs/Skills Mismatch

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Standing on a bluff along a road on the way to Lorain, you can see the remaining steel factories that used to rule the local economy. For generations, the mills were where many high school seniors found work after graduation. But, Ed Yenni sensed a change in the smoky air. He went on to college to study electronic engineering…then started a local company that built international connections.

ED YENNI (touring his facility): One of the areas that we're working in is enabling communications out of food service equipment…UNDER:

LogiSync is an Avon-based company which specializes in remote monitoring systems for everything from fast-food restaurants… to military bases. It’s all very “high tech” compared to the old factory jobs. Yenni says workers laid off from those sorts of jobs just don’t have the knowledge needed to make it at his company.

ED YENNI: I think, for people who have been involved in traditional manufacturing, you come to a company like this, it's a very different situation.

You’ll hear similar stories all across Northeast Ohio where the work has changed…but not enough of the workers have. Here’s Rich Peterson of Astro Manufacturing and Design in Eastlake. The company started out over 30 years ago building automotive parts. The emphasis these days is on medical equipment, made with machines that require computer programming skills.

RICH PETERSON: This is a very high tech process, and this is where we’re having difficulty finding people that have that capability.

The Cleveland Clinic is also struggling to find qualified, new employees, according to Chief Nursing Officer Claire Young.

CLAIRE YOUNG: I need to fill about 200 nursing positions between now and the time we open some new sections of the hospital. And that’s only in about 6 to 8 months.

Plenty of jobs, but jobs that require post-secondary education. Ed Yenni of LogiSync in Avon says extra training and re-training is just a fact of life in the modern workplace.

ED YENNI: I think it’s key that, rather than a person relying on the company to train them and give them everything they need, a person’s got to be responsible for themselves now, and really add to their own skill set to increase their marketability.

One of his interns is doing just that. John Podhradsky is taking engineering classes offered by the University of Toledo through the less expensive Lorain County Community College. He knows that the days of having a job-for-life doing unskilled work at the mill are long gone.

JOHN PODHRADSKY: The people that know how to do one specialized job are going to be left behind. Just in the past year there's been so much technology that's come out. So...people need to change.

And that’s what John Podhradsky has done by continuing his education. In a time when college costs are skyrocketing, he’s on a path to get the education he needs to keep him current with the new world of work.

JOHN PODHRADSKY: Anyone can do this. And that's what's great about it. And I don't think that people realize that this opportunity is out there.

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