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Skills Gap Hits Pittsburg - KOAM TV 7

Skills Gap Hits Pittsburg

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS - There are currently some 600,000 full-time jobs in the US left unfilled due to a lack of trained people.

The skills-gap has even hit Pittsburg.

"Certified electricians are in desperate need around here," Gary Mattson of AZZ Enclosure Systems said.

While officials from CDL Electric Company said, "we could fill approximately 20 jobs right now."

Too many jobs. Not enough qualified workers.

"The biggest concern we hear from our local businesses is they just can't find enough employees," said Blake Benson, President of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

Employers say there aren't enough people being trained in vocational, technical, or skilled labor fields.

"I mean, my parents always drilled that into me. You need to get a bachelor's degree if you're gonna be successful in life," Dr. Greg Belcher of Pittsburg State University said. "And the economics argue with that right now."

It's something local officials want to fix regionally.

"So we have become very actively involved in setting up a vocational school here in Pittsburg, Kansas that can help drive the training that we need to grow manufacturing," Mattson said.

In Pittsburg's Industrial Park is the future home of the Southeast Kansas Career and Technical Education Center. Officials hope the center will help close the skills gap, but say the biggest change needs to be cultural.

"Whether somebody is a welder, or whether somebody is a nurse, or whether somebody is a doctor, lawyer, whatever. To me it's all nobel work," Belcher said.

"People can earn great money in this field," Mattson said. "and we just wanna make sure people are made aware of it."

Officials hope to have the Career and Technical Education Center open by the end of the year, in a limited form.. Then add up to an additional dozen programs over the next 5 years.

Jobs at CDL: http://www.cdl-electric.com/career-at-cdl.html

Jobs at AZZ: http://www.azznuclear.com/careers


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