Chandler Industries fills skilled labor shortage with training

“We decided to grow our own,” said Chandler Industries’ Human Resources Manager Jacque Peters. “We hired 40 to 45 people last year. We will continue hiring and need to train both new and current employees on technical skills."

Leaders across the state have said Minnesota lacks technically skilled workers. These are the type of skills that can be gained in a "one year degree" according to Sen. Amy Klobuchar as reported in a previous article.

Chandler contacted Ron Arneson, who retired in 2010 after 31 years of teaching machine tool on the Granite Falls Campus of Minnesota West. He is now teaching Chandler new hires and current employees entry-level machinist skills such as shop math, inspection equipment and introduction to different metal machining equipment. Minnesota West wrote a skills training grant to assist Chandler Industries.

Train on-site

“The idea is to find employees locally and train for the required skills rather than to recruit and relocate already trained talent that may leave when the economy improves,” said Julie Redepenning, Business Service Specialist at Department of Employment & Economic Development. “It happened before,” said Redepenning. “When there was a shortage of health care workers, employers were willing to pay to train their CNA’s to be LPN’s. Now manufacturing employers are training technical skills. The new model is to get out of the classroom and train on-site.”

Where did the workers go?

“We are almost back to where we were in 2007,” says Redepenning. “It looks like people fell out of the labor market. Now there is a strong demand for workers, but we don’t have people with that skill set looking for work. Demand is still strong with several agricultural machine manufacturers in western Minnesota. These employers need welders, machinists and assemblers,” she said.

Chandler Industries, Inc. has also seen increased demand as it serves several different industries worldwide manufacturing precision CNC machined components.

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