Manufacturing Summit Focuses on Worker Shortage
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September. That’s the lowest level since December of 1969, a 49-year low. While that’s a good thing for workers, it’s proving to be a challenge for manufacturers here in Minnesota. Today in Brooklyn Park manufacturing companies from across the state gathered for the 26th annual Manufacturing Summit.
The event is hosted by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. One of the biggest issues manufacturers are facing is a worker shortage. Right now in the state of Minnesota there are 12,000 vacant manufacturing jobs. One of the goals of this conference is to figure out how to bring people to Minnesota to fill those job openings.
“It’s about building awareness among students in school now and at a junior high level and high school level,” says chamber president Douglas Loon. “We really need to show young people what great jobs are available. We need to go local to make sure there is a communication between those students their families, educators, as well as businesses. There needs to be a connector between all those factors.”
Supply Chain Sustainability also an Issue
That’s not the only topic companies tackled on Friday. They also discussed supply chain sustainability. Several experts spoke on ways companies can reduce their carbon footprint while also cutting costs. They shared ways that manufactures could produce their products more efficiently so they could, in turn, compete globally.
“Water, energy and electricity and supply chains are all inputs that go in to manufacturing,” says Loon. “Manufacturing needs to be as efficient as possible to compete globally. Sustainability goes in to that. Ultimately, sustainability is a business imperative.”
Looking at ways companies can reduce the amount of water they use during their manufacturing process was also a key discussion.
“In the case of water, it’s about how do you reduce grey water and create clean water,” added Loon. “In turn, reusing that clean water that can go back in to manufacturing and back in to our ecology.”
Overall, the different companies and the chamber of commerce are committed to showing off Minnesota. They hope that they can show Minnesota as an attractive place to live and work, all with the hopes of attracting new talent.