The Labor Shortage

The labor shortage of skilled machinists is not a singular phenomenon. Heavy equipment operators who maneuver excavators, dozers, and cranes are also scarce. Power Equipment of Chattanooga, Tennessee, is doing something about it in its area. The company contributed $600,000 worth of Kubota machinery to Chattanooga State University to equip operator courses, according to Larry Moon of the company. He says that the classes have been oversubscribed every time they have been offered. This is a smart move for Power Equipment, which has several branches in the state.

On the machine tool front, Haas Automation has been the most aggressive in donating equipment to colleges and universities. This has had the double barreled effect of developing brand awareness for machinists and engineers while enriching the pool of operators in the field.

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One thought on “The Labor Shortage

  1. Tyler Shinaberry

    Lloyd, Lloyd, Lloyd, you could not be more right, and at the same time you could not have left more important things out. Maybe it has something to deal with the fact that if this article was a hard copy, it would fit on Sheryl Crow’s idea of toilet paper allowance with room to spare. I am not saying your article is fit for the toilet, I am just saying I wish it was longer!

    EPIK, my company, is on the road to eliminating the need for educated workers. I will not say that the idea is bigger than the Big Mac, but if enough shop owners step up to the plate, we may come close. Because of the idea’s innovative nature, I am not going to release it publicly until it is protected. However, for the sake of education, I will remark on a few of the points Lloyd made.

    Working around construction and manufacturing industries, as well as serving on a technical school advisory board, I see the problems caused by the shortage of skilled operators. At the same time, I see the problems caused by the owners of companies. I could write a whole article on this, (HINT Lloyd) but I will keep it down to two small examples.

    The first problem I will address is on the worker side. It is a sad fact, but everyone wants to get rich without working for it. In my opinion, I think that the computer age is the main culprit of this. Do not take that statement wrong! I just think that young people, because they were raised with easy to use computers, feel that anything related to the computer industry is simple. Contrary to ignorant Al Gore’s thought process, millions of people and many decades went into making the internet and computer systems we use today.

    The second problem falls on the employer’s side. Workers who do not have illusions of grandeur do not have the incentive to take these jobs after receiving the education. I could write a book on why, but I am going to stick to the high school age group on this. When a student is learning a trade, it is impossible to make them want to pursue the trade after school if there is no incentive. Take this for thought: is a student going to put effort into school to look forward to $8 an hour with no benefits as a machine shop grunt, or are they going to go and “work” for McDonalds for $8 an hour with benefits, free food, and a $10 an hour management position in 3 months?

    Think about it! I apologize for the grammar, I am in a hurry, but couldn’t keep from commenting this article!

    To get in on the new idea, offer advice, or present any ideas to EPIK, please feel free to call me at my cell (740) 504-3521 or email me at It may no longer take a community to raise a child, but it takes a united country to raise a global economy.

    —Tyler Shinaberry


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