Skills gap is small, but growing

The “skills gap” — a shortage of skilled trades workers — is no big deal now — but it could be in the future, as baby boomers retire. The average high-skilled manufacturing worker in the U.S. is 56 years old.

Welding requires math and science skills that most job applicants don’t have, says a CEO whose company up-armors Humvees.

About Joanne


  1. Not really a surprise, but it looks like the issue of math and science education does apply to skilled labor jobs, but then again, a lot of students don’t learn math and science well enough in order to even apply for such jobs (which if it was taught correctly throughout public school attendance, the students should have the required skills by graduation).


  2. GoogleMaster says:

    I clicked through twice to read the NYT column. The “math” they’re talking about isn’t Ph.D. level, isn’t calculus, isn’t even trigonometry. It’s at best sixth grade arithmetic: fractions, decimals, unit conversions, angle measurement, and the like.

  3. GoogleMaster,

    Now that’s sad indeed…My niece who is in first grade can already handle basic fractions, and she didn’t learn that from the school she is attending 🙂

  4. There’s an enormous mismatch between the job skills she wants and the $20/hour she’s willing to pay. If she wants to recruit applicants with more skills, shocking as it is, she has to pay them at least as much as they can earn elsewhere – surely she knows at least that much math, herself.

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      I suppose $20 to start would be reasonable. There’s overtime and raises as the worker’s value goes up.

  5. $20/hr is NOT unreasonable wages to start, esp. with the opportunity to gain additional skills and knowledge and earn even more money (in raw dollars, that’s 41,600 dollars a year, before taxes)…

    When you don’t have a job, this looks pretty good (IMO).

  6. Yes, skills gaps are emerging in the economy today, and one major way to curb them is to invest in career and technical education (CTE). CTE has proven to deliver many benefits, including improved student achievement and career/earning prospects, more community vitality and more qualified workers for the jobs of today. When businesses work with educators, CTE programs are especially effective.

    The Industry Workforce Needs Council is a new group of businesses working together to spotlight skills gaps and advocate for CTE as a means of bridging them. For more information on the IWNC, or to join the effort, visit

    Jason Sprenger, for the IWNC