Got skills? They're the key to finding a job

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - On Thursday President Obama announced his plan to create jobs for our struggling economy.

But unemployment remains painfully high, some employers say, not solely because of a lack of jobs.

For some companies it's that they have no one to fill the jobs they have.

Look around the place it is huge and getting bigger - industrial giant Siemens Charlotte plant.

Soon to be one-million square feet under roof, Siemens' largest manufacturing facility in North America.

"We're in a big growth spurt right now."

Siemens Charlotte plant director of operations Mark Pringle says the company's hiring hundreds of workers to fill a huge addition it's making to its Westinghouse Boulevard facility where it's going to begin building gas turbines - how future power plants will be powered.

However, Siemens is having a hard time finding workers with the mechanical aptitude and math skills to be able to operate some of the high-tech machines it has.

"I think there's a lot of good people in Charlotte looking for a job that have the basic skills," says Pringle.  "And our challenge is both the employers and the community is how do we put the two together?"

It's called the skills gap - a gap between the skills required for available jobs and the talent pool.

As companies try to become more competitive - become more automated - they're finding they have the jobs but no workers skilled for the jobs.

"We have a consistent culture in Charlotte that the higher education institutions doors are wide open to whatever industry needs help. They understand that their role is to help train and prepare the workforce," says Natalie English of the Charlotte Chamber.

English says education and industry are coming together in Charlotte to fill the skills gap.

Siemens for example, working with CMS has tapped high school seniors it'll hire once they graduate.

Siemens will pay for their education at CPCC while training them on the job at Siemens - like an apprenticeship.

"I think it's a win-win," says plant manager Pringle, "because we need good students and we can train them to make them very productive for us and we're giving them an opportunity that they wouldn't otherwise have."

On Friday, September 12, the Charlotte Chamber is hosting a summit bringing together education and industry.  It's called "Talent Development from Classroom to Career."

You can find out more by clicking on the link above.

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