American Manufacturers Importing Workers

American manufacturers importing workersBy Parija Kavilanz

NEW YORK -- U.S. manufacturers, frustrated by a shortage of skilled American factory workers, are going abroad to find them.

Business for factories has surged recently, creating a huge demand for machinists, tool and die makers, computer-controlled machine programmers and operators.

"These jobs are the backbone of manufacturing," said Gardner Carrick, senior director with the Manufacturing Institute. "These are good quality middle-class jobs that Americans should be training for."

The United States is experiencing a shrinking pipeline of manufacturing talent, said James Wall, deputy director of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.

"It's been in the making for years," he said. Factories didn't feel the labor pinch as much when manufacturing was in a slump. But the latest "Made in USA" resurgence has them scrambling.

Wall said some manufacturers have been relying on foreign workers to fill the gaps through H-1B visas.

The popular H-1B program allows high-skilled foreign workers to be employed in the United States for a maximum duration of six years. Each year, the government issues a quota of new H-1B work visa applications, and all industries compete against the quota. Last year's cap was set at 65,000.

High-tech companies tend to submit the most applications for H-1B visas. Manufacturers typically aren't big users of the program. Out of all the H-1B applications sent to the Labor Department less than 10 percent were from manufacturers.

A $100K factory job. What's uncool about that?

A total of 39,551 foreign workers for manufacturing positions were certified by the Labor Department in 2011 for H-1B visas.

That number was up from 34,830 workers in 2010.

The agency certifies an application after a U.S. employer has demonstrated that it was unable to find a willing and qualified American worker for the job.

The H-1B visa still needs to be approved by the State Department to be granted. So the number of issued H-1B visas could be much fewer than the number of approved applications.

A majority of the applications for manufacturing last year were for architecture, engineering and other non-production related jobs, said Carrick, analyzing Labor Department data.

Less than 100 certified applications were for core factory jobs, such as machinists and computer-controlled machine operators, he added.

So even though manufacturers are going down this path, "H-1B is never going to be the answer to the skills shortage in production jobs in manufacturing," he said.

"The H-1B certainly isn't the best long-term solution," said Carrick. "We have to grow this talent at home."

But don't tell that to Vincent Spinali, general manager with Prattville Machine & Tool Company. The Peabody, Mass.-based manufacturer with 100 employees is a machine shop whose clients are in the aerospace and defense industries.

Spinali said the company invested a year and a "significant amount of money" to bring back one of its former machinists from Colombia through the H-1B visa program.

"He was in the U.S. on political asylum. We hired him, trained him and he was with us for 15 years after that. He was a great worker," said Spinali.

In 2010, Spinali said the worker's status changed, and he was sent back to Colombia.

The company got the worker back six months ago. "We realized he had become invaluable to us, and it would be hard to replace someone with his experience quickly," said Spinali.

Spinali said the H-1B program is difficult to maneuver, time-consuming and expensive, but he would consider using it again to hire more workers.

Desperately seeking Americans for factory jobs

"Our business has picked up," he said. "Also, half of our workers are over 50. It's going to be very difficult to replace them when they retire because there's a shortage of young skilled workers."

Meanwhile, the Labor Department is trying to discourage American manufacturers from using H-1B visas, by offering grants to manufacturing associations and companies that train and hire domestically.

The agency recently awarded the National Institute of Metalworking Skills a $2.2 million grant that will encourage members to start in-house apprenticeships.

"We can and should develop our own skilled production workforce through career and technical institutes," Carrickn said. "These schools can provide U.S. manufacturers with the reliable supply of skilled production workers that they so desperately need."

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America's manufacturing jobs could be coming back, read more

April 23 2012 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A banker reportedly left a 1% tip in defiance of 'the 99%' at a Newport Beach restaurant the other week, according to his dining companion and underling who snapped a photo of the receipt and posted it to his blog, Future Ex Banker. (Update: the blog is now offline.)

In posting the photo, the employee gave some background on his boss and the receipt:

Mention the “99%” in my boss’ presence and feel his wrath. So proudly does he wear his 1% badge of honor that he tips exactly 1% every time he feels the server doesn’t sufficiently bow down to his Holiness. Oh, and he always makes sure to include a “tip” of his own.
The "tip" of his own in this case was to tell the server to "get a real job." Pleasant.

March 09 2012 at 12:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

,Chinese ,Mexicans, and other workers outside US that they are getting screwed by this GANGSTERS, to DEMAND AND SUPPORT THE UNIONS, and to force the GREEDY SLAVE MASTERS CROOKS to pay they'r SLAVES the money that they deserve and benefits for working ,in polluted and unhealthy environments, with forced overtime hours to compensate for the extremely low wage they are getting paid.Tax everything made outside USA al least 200+ percent. BUY AMERCAN MADE EVEREYONE EVEN IF IT COST MORE

March 09 2012 at 12:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The 1 percent Corporate Crooks deleted my post, I am glad the true facts hurt them, the Gangsters are hurting the American workers with the tactics that they can not find skilled American workers, to work unsafe and for super low wages. DEMAND AND VOTE UNION, TAKE EVERYTHING FROM THE 1 % AND GIVE IT BACK TO THE ONES THEY STOLE FROM " THE POOR "

March 09 2012 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michelle Neff

Look we haven't had any Jobs for decades, now they just imprt labor, Thier are tool and die makers lath operators, machinests here npw ready to work just call the UAW anf theyt will be on thier way, what they aren;t sayong is that 100,000 job is for the Computer Programer-- they don;t have a door fitter etc.

March 07 2012 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1st there are Skilled Machineists & Tool & Die Makers.I happen to be one though now I'm Retired,2nd The so called Importers of Jobs Do Not want UNIONS, and would preferr to bring in Imports because they don't know the Prevailing Wage of skilled Workers. I once worked for an Aerospace Company(Allied Signal) in Florida,That shut down a Plant because the Workers wanted Union Affiliation,They moved to North Carolina because they could pay 2.00 per hour less.meanwhile the customers are wondering why they are not getting their parts ! needless to say,the management team that dreamed up this cost cutting measure all lost their job,So Did 500 other skilled workers.I hope Larry Bosidy (C.E.O. Rots in HELL

March 07 2012 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ironmikemiata's comment

The workers Union would have terminated half the company or closed it within a year. It happened to a couple of good companies in Florida. Unions, scares companies into hiring temps then moving the company to another state or country.
The foreign workers are not always trained; most cannot speak or read English well to get adjusted to American standards and they get homesick, even the family has a difficult time to assimilate into the community’s routine. It’s a waste of time and money hiring foreign workers.

March 07 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Murphy

Don't Import workers build teams with 5 levels of machinist that can work with and learn from each other, That,s how we used to do it.

March 07 2012 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Murphy

A C.N.C. machinist is a necessary evil. If the job is done well. the machines run them self's. If some one is not good with them. They make a lot of down time, However they look very busy. and refuse help out of fear of looking bad ..They become cliquish. It kills the communication and team work. But the bean counters love their lower pay regardless of the lost production. The companies avoid the qualified Americans because they want people to work for $12.50-14.00 /hour and work 65 hours a week. So companies now dedicate machines to one job and keep one man on them until he retires. you can get a decent used C.N.C. for $30,000 and dedicate it it to one part with 5 different sizes or it and another 2 machines with one $14.00/hour employe who is worth less if you loose the contract or if you buy a new machine that he/she can not adopt to it with out another year of training. Although This is not me I will also get stuck eventually in the $14.00/hour jobs just the same. I will have to deal with .0001 tolerances out of round collets . Bad material that eats tooling.adjusting speeds and feeds running back and forth after broken drills and worn carbide while setting up a machine for a hot job.. Why would any one new want to be in that position ? So they just run the same job every day.

March 07 2012 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't buy a single premise in this story. Um, in 2004 Dubya changed three of the six ways unemployment was measured, dropping our reported rate by up to 50%. America is in a Depression right now. One problem is no company wants to train workers anymore. There are few entry level jobs listed, only ones looking for experience. There is no loyalty, no patriotism, just infighting, greed and lies.

March 07 2012 at 2:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the same type of bull they keep feeding us.

March 07 2012 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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