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  • Pitts: The balance of power in washington didn't change this

  • week as president obama and most members of congress kept

  • their jobs. They'll go back to work and face an

  • unemployment problem that also hasn't changed very much. Every month

  • since january 2009, more than 20 million americans have been

  • either out of work or underemployed. Yet despite that staggering

  • number, there are more than three million job openings in

  • the u.S. Just in manufacturing, there are as many as

  • 500,000 jobs that aren't being filled because employers say they

  • can't find qualified workers. It's called "the skills gap." How

  • could that be, we wondered, at a time like this

  • with so many people out of work? No place is

  • the question more pressing than in nevada, the state with

  • the highest unemployment rate in the country, a place where

  • there are jobs waiting to be filled. Karl Hutter: Yeah

  • hear way too much about the united states manufacturing, "we

  • don't manufacture anything anymore." Not true. Not true. Pitts: Sure,

  • it's mexico, it's in china... Hutter: Yeah, yeah, that... That

  • all went to china, that all went to mexico. Not

  • true whatsoever. Pitts: Karl hutter is the new chief operating

  • officer of click bond in carson city, nevada, a company

  • his parents started in 1969. Hutter: We're still technically a

  • small business, but we're growing quickly. Pitts: So you're hiring?

  • Hutter: We are hiring. We're hiring and we need to

  • find good people. And that's really what the challenge is

  • these days. Pitts:325 people work at click bond, making fasteners

  • that hold cables, panels and pretty much everything else inside

  • today's planes, ships and trains. Their customers include the defense

  • department. The f-35 has 30,000 click bond fasteners. The workhorses

  • in this factory may look old, but they're computer-controlled machines

  • that make precision parts accurate to a thousandth of an

  • inch, the thickness of a piece of paper. Click bond

  • needs employees who can program the computers, operate the machines,

  • fix them, and then check to make sure the results

  • are up to spec. Ryan Costello: If you look at

  • the real significant human achievements in this country, a lot

  • of them have to do with manufacturing or making something.

  • Pitts: Ryan costello is head of strategic initiatives at click

  • bond. That's another way of saying he's looking ahead to

  • both opportunits and problems facing the company. Su so the...

  • The skill gap, is... Is it across the board? Is

  • it at all levels, or is it the entry level?

  • Costello: Honestly say it's probably an entry level problem. It's

  • those basic skill sets. Show up on time, you know,

  • read, write, do math, problem solve. I can't tell you

  • how many people even coming out of higher ed with

  • degrees who can't put a sentence together without a major

  • grammatical error. It's a problem. If you can't do the

  • resume properly to get the job, you can't come work

  • for us. We're in the business of making fasteners that

  • hold systems together that protect people in the air when

  • they're flying. We're in the business of perfection. Pitts: Costello

  • says click bond ran into trouble when it expanded production

  • and went to buy these machines from a factory in

  • watertown, connecticut. The company didn't have enough skilled labor back

  • home in nevada to run them, so it bought the

  • entire factory just to get the qualified employees, and kept

  • the plant running in connecticut. You just have to be

  • careful that you don't hit the side. Pitts: Nationwide, manufacturers

  • say the lack of skilled workers is the reason for

  • hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs, a number ryan costello

  • says is about to get bigger. Costello: You have a

  • massive wave of baby boomers who are leaving the workforce

  • very soon. Pitts: Folks retiring. Costello: And we have to

  • replace those folks. And that's not even talking about growth.

  • Hutter: We can't find enough students who are interested in

  • pursuing these trades. Because it seems hard? I don't know.

  • Because it seems like you have to do math? I

  • don't know. Pitts: Do you think you've done an effective

  • job looking for them? Hutter: I think we have. I

  • think we really have. Pitts: How is that possible in

  • this day and age, when so many people are looking

  • for work, need work, and... And you're telling me you

  • can't find people who have the skills to do the

  • job that you need done? Hutter: And that's the thing

  • that seems like a stumper, right? Of all times, you

  • should be able to find them now. Pitts: In the

  • five years before the recession, nevada had the fastest growing

  • job market in the country. But when the bottom fell

  • out of tourism, real estate and construction, it went from

  • best to worst. In 2010, the unemployment rate here shot

  • to 14.9%, highest in the country. And today, nevada is

  • still struggling with a jobless rate well above the national

  • average. Ryan costello says, with so many people unemployed, manufacturers

  • must play a larger role in training workers. Costello: I

  • think far too long we've had our heads in the

  • sand, you know. We make our parts. We just hoped

  • that the education system would produce what we need. And

  • I think the recession, i think a lot of things

  • have taught us, "no, you have to engage." Pitts: So

  • last year, costello convinced other manufacturers to design a training

  • program with local community colleges. The plan was straightforward-- take

  • unemployed people, test them for aptitude, interview them for attitude,

  • and then train them for open jobs. Grab the tool,

  • hit the button to release the tool. Pitts: The 20

  • handpd students have different ages, backgrounds and work experience. For

  • them, the training is free and they can still collect

  • unemployment. Ryan vrenon gets to school an hour early for

  • a study group. Ryan Vrenon: So you've got three to

  • the five right here, so it's .02. Pitts: He's been

  • working in warehouses and fast food, but mostly not working

  • at all. Pitts: How many jobs have you applied for

  • in the past four years? Vrenon: I would say, in

  • the last year, that I've worked... I applied for over

  • 200 jobs. Pitts: Really? Vrenon:200 jobs. Pitts: And how many

  • callbacks did you get? Vrenon: Two. Pitts: Jamie pacheco is

  • married with two young girls and a child on the

  • way. He was a commercial painter, but those jobs dried

  • up with the downturn in construction. Jamie Pacheco: I like

  • the fact that I have to put my brain to

  • work to... To be able to apply myself to do

  • this kind of stuff. Pitts: The program focuses on the

  • machines found in today's factories. Students are taught to operate

  • the computers, read blueprints, and learn trigonometry to make precise

  • measurements-- almost a year's worth of training packed into 16

  • weeks. Most of the students here will start at jobs

  • paying $12 an hour. Skilled machinists can earn upwards of

  • $60,000 a year. For ryan vrenon, with a wife and

  • a newborn, it's exactly the kind of job he was

  • hoping for. Vrenon: To get the call to actually be

  • accepted into the class was... Right when I hung up

  • the phone, I was just like, "yes!" Pitts: What did

  • your wife say? Vrenon: "Oh, my god, baby," you know?

  • (Laughs) "you're going to go to college." It's just like,

  • wow! Pitts: Life-changing, it sounds like. Vrenon: Yeah, very. Very

  • life-changing. My... My whole day is going to be different

  • now. Pitts: Different how? Vrenon: I don't have to wake

  • up and go, "what am I going to do now?"

  • You know? "Okay, I fed everybody yesterday, but I don't

  • have enough money to feed people today." Or "i don't

  • know where to step next, you know. What's my next

  • move?" Pitts: Click bond is having trouble finding entry level

  • employees. For manufacturing giants like alcoa, the challenge is retraining

  • people already on the job to keep up with advances

  • in technology. Alcoa is one of the largest and oldest

  • companies in america. It's been hiring skilled workers since 1888,

  • and today has factories around the globe. At its aerospace

  • plant in whitehall, michigan, 2,100 employees are working three shifts

  • a day, seven days a week. German-born c.E.O. Klaus kleinfeld

  • says alcoa's competitive edge is innovation, backed up by a

  • skilled workforce. They're producing parts that make jet engines 50%

  • more fuel efficient. Klaus Kleinfeld: I would love to show

  • you how the air flow goes inside. But that's part

  • of probably the best-kept secret that this industry has. That's

  • the innovation I'm talking about. Pitts: And a person just

  • can't walk off the street and put that together for

  • you. Kleinfeld: Impossible. Pitts: Kari belanger came to alcoa with

  • an engineering degree. The company trained her to program rots

  • to do the work that, 50 years ago, was done

  • by hand. Alcoa also helped pay for rod coley to

  • go back to school and get his engineering degree. He

  • x-rays parts to make sure they're perfect before they leave

  • the factory. What do you say to friends and relatives

  • who may be looking for a job? Rod Coley: Well,

  • me... Me personally, I say, "get your education." Kleinfeld: The

  • environment is changing all the time. And if you don't

  • stay on top of things, you know, somebody will eat

  • your lunch. Pitts: Despite its efforts to retrain and recruit,

  • alcoa has 27 job openings at its michigan plant alone.

  • Who do you blame for the skills gap in this

  • country? Kleinfeld: I don't blame anybody for that. Pitts: Who

  • bears responsibility for you? Kleinfeld: I think it's more an

  • educational aspect. It's... I think it's a sensitivity to understand

  • what makes a country and a business competitive. Pitts: I

  • would imagine if you had a parts gap, you'd close

  • it right away, right? Kleinfeld: If we had a parts

  • gap, we'd try to close it right away, yes. Pitts:

  • Then why can't that occur with the skills gap? Kleinfeld:

  • Don't get from this that we're sitting together here because

  • our... Because alcoa is complaining that we can't fill the

  • skills gap. That is absolutely not my message. We can

  • absolutely fill that, absolutely. I mean, the... For alcoa, we

  • can do it. We are doing it. And many of

  • my colleagues or OTHER C.E.O.s ARE DOING IT. Pitts: But

  • if manufacturing is doing all that it can to close

  • this skills gap, then why is there still a skills

  • gap? Kleinfeld: Well, this is not a society where you

  • can tell somebody what... Where to go work, or where

  • to... What education to get, right? Pitts: Do you think

  • if manufacturing paid more, could that be part of the

  • issue, part of the equation? Kleinfeld: I don't think that

  • manufacturing is not paying well. In fact, I think manufacturing...

  • Manufacturing is paying very, very well. Pitts: Peter cappelli disagrees.

  • Peter Cappelli: This is a market. And so, you know,

  • if you're not willing to pay more, don't expect to

  • get better quality people. Pitts: Cappelli teaches management at the

  • university of pennsylvania's wharton school. He says, with supply and

  • demand, a shortage of skilled workers should lead to rising

  • wages. Cappelli: One of the things we know now is

  • wages are not going up. In fact, they've been stagnant,

  • and some cases even declining over time. So where is

  • the shortage? Pitts: What's changed in the way that american

  • companies hire workers compared to a few decades ago? Cappelli:

  • I think there are big changes, and I think this

  • is the heart of what is new. What's new now

  • is that employers are not expecting to hire and train

  • people. If you turn the clock back a generation ago,

  • there really was none of this discussion about skill gaps

  • and skill problems. Pitts: Because companies provided the training. Cappelli:

  • Companies did it themselves. Companies are now saying, for all

  • kinds of reasons, "we're not going to do it anymore."

  • And maybe they're right, they can't do it. But what

  • they probably can't do is say, "we're not going to

  • do it and it's your problem. It's your problem to

  • provide us with what we need, mr. And mrs. Taxpayer.

  • You need to pay for this for us." Pitts: Taxpayers

  • are paying for training in nevada, where it costs about

  • $60,000 to prepare 20 students for jobs. Karl hutter from

  • click bond plans on hiring people from the program. If

  • there's something that you want, that you need for your

  • company, then why don't you pay for it? Hutter: I

  • can't afford to develop every worker that I need from

  • scratch. One, that's not my core competency. I'm... We're not

  • a school, we're a coy. We can't do that well.

  • Two, we can't afford to do that. If we actually

  • had to do that from scratch, even if we could,

  • the jobs would have to go somewhere else, because it's

  • simply not economically tenable to do that. Pitts: As part

  • of the training program, hutter and other manufacturers are willing

  • to pay students for two-day-a- week internships. Ryan vrenon and

  • jamie pacheco did theirs at click bond. Their training, says

  • ryan costello, is paying off. Has it saved money? Has

  • it saved time? Costello: Well, we have two machine operators

  • who have a ton of potential. They're not requiring major

  • training to make sure that they can do math or

  • problem solve. They came ready to work day one. Pitts:

  • If you'd hired them off the street, how long would

  • it have taken the company to get them up to

  • speed? Costello: That question was asked to one of our

  • folks on the plant floor and he said, "anywhere from

  • a year to two years. Pitts: For vrenon and pacheco,

  • it's more than the promise of a job or a

  • career. It means being of value and having a place