LancasterThrivingSummerFall2017 - 13

PTION OF AN INDUSTRY

Flex-Cell and fellow manufacturers are teaming up to
change the way people see their industry. Already facing
a worker shortage, the industry is now facing thousands of
retirements over the next decade. So they're trying to show
off what they do and sell their job opportunities to the
next generation.
MIND THE (SKILLS) GAP
It is hard to overstate the importance of manufacturing
to the Lancaster County economy. According to the PA
Department of Labor and Industry, manufacturing is the
second-largest industry in the county, behind healthcare. It
employs nearly 16 percent of the workforce and pays nearly
20 percent of all wages, with average salaries nearly 20
percent higher than the median Lancaster County family's

income. The Economic Development Company of Lancaster
County says manufacturing accounts for $12 billion in
annual sales.
Yet job openings go unfilled. From 2014-2016, more than
3,700 companies with more than 6,000 jobs were recruiting
graduates of the manufacturing division at Thaddeus
Stevens College of Technology, one of the region's only
feeder schools. That's more than 15 jobs per graduate over
that time span.
It's the phenomenon commonly known as the Skills Gap.
And there are more storm clouds on the horizon: CareerLink
reports that 29 percent of the county's manufacturing
employees are 55 or older. Nationwide,

LancasterChamber.com

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http://www.LancasterChamber.com

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