Machine Tool Technology: A Solution For Unemployment?
By: Scott Packett, Career Pathways Coordinator, TTC at Athens
I was watching a CBS News clip the other day covering the need for skilled workers in manufacturing. I was shocked to hear that there are essentially more jobs available requiring a skill, than there are workers trained in that particular skill. Economically speaking, the demand for skilled workers is higher than the supply of skilled workers. One such field is Machine Tool Technology.
Imagine an automobile assembly line: a large conveyor system moves unfinished automobiles down the line, giant robotic welding arms bond the different body panels together, and hydraulic lifts move the motor into the body of the car, and giant presses stamp body parts from flat sheets of steal. All of these complex machines need workers to produce replacement parts (machinist), workers to install them (millwright), and workers to service them to ensure they function properly (industrial machinery mechanic).
Employment of workers in this career field is expected to grow over the next decade due to the retirement rate of machinists, the increase of machinery used in manufacturing, and the rapid growth of the power industry. Not only is there a high demand for workers, but the hourly wage exceeds the national average in non-supervisorial positions in manufacturing. In 2008, the median hourly wages of workers in this field were: $17.41 (machinist), $22.87 (millwright), and $20.99 (mechanics). Earnings will vary by industry and geographic region.
It would seem that with a high demand for skilled workers, those who are currently unemployed might benefit from exploring their options in vocational/technical education. The Machine Tool Technology program provided by the Tennessee Technology Center at Athens, boasting a 100% completion rate and an 88% job placement rate, might be good place to begin. For more information about this program or others, please call (423) 744-2814 and ask for Jim Greek, Admissions Counselor.