Future Production

This week at WYSO we’ve been talking about the future of manufacturing. A lot of area manufacturers say the business is growing, but they need better-trained young people to carry the torch. They aren’t the only employers struggling to fill job openings, despite high unemployment in the region. So why are so many young people falling through the cracks?

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Manufacturing has been an economic mainstay of the Miami Valley for decades. But manufacturing is changing: today it’s increasingly high-tech, and the industry is struggling to remake its image and get more young people interested.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

From 2000 to 2009, manufacturing jobs in the greater Dayton area were cut in half as businesses consolidated, closed, or went overseas.

“Everything really just kinda died for us,” says Steve Staub, the head of Staub Manufacturing Solutions.

Jobs drained out of the region, around 40,000 in total, and just a few thousand have been added since 2010—not exactly a roaring comeback. But now the remaining workforce is aging, and area manufacturers are having a hard time finding young, educated workers to fill positions doing increasingly high-tech work.