Friday, December 9, 2011

Kotkin Gives Licking County National Story Line

Any time you talk to a national journalist who is writing a story with a national perspective and find your community mentioned, it is both flattering and alarming at the same time.

Joel Kotkin's latest piece, "Wanted: Blue-Collar Workers" published at is more on the flatter side.  Still, a hint of alarm is mixed in too.

He quotes Karen Wright of Ariel Corp. in the lead off.  Ariel is a gas compressor manufacturer faced with the double whammy of an aging workforce with Baby Boomer retirements looming and a major growth spurt spawned by the oil and gas boom in the nation.  Her workforce skills shortage is an example of a national issue where manufacturing and energy industries are coming together.

Companies familiar to our Aerospace Center campus, namely Kaiser and Boeing, are quoted.  These companies describe their workforce dilemmas as well.

The people with part of the solution, COTC and C-TEC, are mentioned with their approaches to solutions.

The gist of the story is that our nation needs to turn its focus to skills training and away from education for education's sake.  It's flattering that Licking County was the poster child for promoting this right on message.

I just wish the solution part gets seen too.  That's the alarm in me going off.  Someone who reads this story and doesn't finish it may come away thinking there's an unsolved and unsolvable problem in Central Ohio with manufacturing workforce needs. 

We, better than most, have workforce skill solutions at work.  Here's hoping that story gets told too some day soon.

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