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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Will Math Classes Help Solve the Lack of Employable Machinists?

Is basic math education a solution to the skills gap problems in the American manufacturing sector? NPR recently added to the chorus of voices saying American manufacturers are having trouble finding people who have the math skills required to become manufacturing employees.

As NPR points out, 2 million manufacturing jobs disappeared during the recession. A half-million jobs have returned, but that still leaves a gaping deficit compared to 2008. NPR’s Niala Boodhoo interviewed North American Tool Corp.’s director of corporate manufacturing, Jim Hoyt, who said many applicants can’t perform the math required on the job.

“I’ll write a few numbers down, mostly numbers with decimal points, because that’s what we use in manufacturing, and have them add them or subtract them, or divide by two,” Hoyt said, but many applicants can’t perform the calculations.

In Chicago’s South Side, Ray Prendergrast, director of Richard J. Daley College’s manufacturing program, says many students who are turning to vocational programs are unprepared. “The majority of students who come into my program are not at English 101, and they’re not at Math 118.”

We’ve previously covered the manufacturing skills gap, as well as private, public and nonprofit efforts to offer training programs and educational opportunities for machinists-to-be. If you would like to add any opportunities that you may know, please do so in the comments section below.



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