Friday, July 2, 2010

Math in blue-collar manufacturing jobs

And because they laid off so many workers — more than two million since the end of 2007 — manufacturers now have a vast pool of people to choose from.

Yet some of these employers complain that they cannot fill their openings.

Plenty of people are applying for the jobs. The problem, the companies say, is a mismatch between the kind of skilled workers needed and the ranks of the unemployed. ...

Now they are looking to hire people who can operate sophisticated computerized machinery, follow complex blueprints and demonstrate higher math proficiency than was previously required of the typical assembly line worker. ...

All candidates at [contract drug maker] Ben Venue must pass a basic skills test showing they can read and understand math at a ninth-grade level. A significant portion of recent applicants failed, and the company has been disappointed by the quality of graduates from local training programs. It is now struggling to fill 100 positions.
--Motoko Rich, NYT, on being screwed if you can't do math

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