High-tech U.S. plants offer jobs even as the laid-off struggle

Dan Sewell and Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press

Published Tuesday, August 15, 2017 1:30AM EDT

NORWOOD, Ohio – After years of factory closings and offshoring of jobs, U.S. manufacturing faces a new jobs challenge – not enough qualified workers for increasing automation and advanced technology.

Federal statistics show nearly 390,000 manufacturing jobs open, and some studies say hundreds of thousands more will need to be filled within a decade.

The problem is many of them aren’t the same jobs that for decades put food on working-class family tables. They demand education, technical know-how or specialized skills.

Donald Trump won the presidency with support from blue-collar workers who liked his tough talk on manufacturing jobs. One is Herbie Mays, whose plant moved its work to Mexico. Unemployed since March, he acknowledges he lacks the training or education for jobs now open, leaving him what he says is “out of luck.”

This is part of the first installment of Future of Work, an Associated Press series that will explore how workplaces across the U.S. and the world are being transformed by technology and global pressures. As more employers move, shrink or revamp their work sites, many employees are struggling to adapt. At the same time, workers with in-demand skills or knowledge are benefiting. Advanced training, education or know-how is becoming a required ticket to the 21st-century workplace.

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