Manufacturers’ demands for skilled workers outnumber college grads

Michigan manufacturing is in the midst of a conundrum: the number of jobs is decreasing while manufacturing output is increasing. The solution could be engineers with high-level tech and manufacturing skills. Universities are producing them as fast as they can, but business leaders say it’s not fast enough.

According to excerpts from the story:

Manufacturing engineering students almost walk off the graduation stage into $50,000 to $60,000 a year jobs. Programs such as those at Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Ferris State University can't produce grads fast enough to meet demand, directors say.

That's a paradox for an industry that analysts project will continue to lose workers. From 2004 to 2014, manufacturing employment in Michigan is expected to drop by 6.3 percent, or more than 44,000 jobs, according to the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

Even with placement rates at or near 100 percent, manufacturing engineering programs in western Michigan have trouble recruiting students.

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