Philly-area manufacturers worry, despite growth in jobs

Registration is now open for ManuFest and More 2020 that will take place on March 10 at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. Image via

Surveys of manufacturers in Greater Philadelphia and Bureau of Labor Statistics data show job growth in manufacturing in Pennsylvania after years of losses following the Great Recession, but the lack of highly skilled laborers continues to be a challenge.

Because of the skills gap, more than 2 million manufacturing jobs are expected to go unfilled by 2025, writes Kennedy Rose at

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“Not only is there a shortage of highly skilled labor in PA, but many small manufacturers have difficulty finding entry level factory workers willing to be trained and grow with their companies,” said Robert Rosania, CEO of Ehmke Manufacturing Co. “I do think there still exists a disconnect between workforce development/job ready programs and the typical manufacturing company. ”

Despite the wages manufacturers offer, an obstacle to getting a younger workforce is the image families have of manufacturing,  said Steve Jurash, president of the Manufacturing Alliance of the Greater Philadelphia Region. Many parents will steer their children away from manufacturing jobs because they think of the grime and the danger their fathers and grandfathers worked in, he said.

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