“I don’t think that the problem has gotten worse since COVID but production in general has dropped due to folks being unable to work, due to both having COVID and various shutdowns and supply line issues,” Maher said.
How do Dayton-area companies qualified workers?
“You name it. Posting on various job boards, holding virtual job fairs, drive-in open houses, working with all of the various schools and workforce development organizations, referral bonuses, sign-on bonuses and just about anything else one might think of,” Maher said.
He added: “Our community needs to take stock of the multiple workforce development initiatives (there are dozens), determine which are effective — (with) a measurable result of obtaining and keeping employment.”
Programs that don’t work should be eliminated while those that do should be combined with other effective initiatives “so efforts and significant monies are not duplicated,” Maher said.
Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, and Jim Bowman, chief operating officer at Moraine’s Rack Processing Co. Inc., in 2017. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Workers aren’t the only top concern for area manufacturers. Recovering from the weakened COVID economy, government help and mandates, international trade, taxes and the cost of health care all made the list, the DRMA survey found.
So did legalization of marijuana.
“DRMA members are concerned with the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana because of workplace safety issues and the lack of impairment testing,” DRMA said. “Legalization will increase costs for small manufacturers who need to rewrite policies and will further complicate and exacerbate the problems of finding skilled workers.”