Dominion Post: Local manufacturers share workforce challenges, tax cut good news at Rep. David McKinley roundtable

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Washington, October 19, 2018 | comments
Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., met with leaders of six local manufacturing firms for a roundtable on the challenges they face. The businessmen expressed their concern about the lack of a skilled workforce but expressed pleasure with the tax cuts that took effect at the start of this year. McKinley raised the issue of workforce challenges, noting that nationally there are 7.1 million jobs open. “We can’t fill them.”
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Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., met with leaders of six local manufacturing firms for a roundtable on the challenges they face.

The businessmen expressed their concern about the lack of a skilled workforce but expressed pleasure with the tax cuts that took effect at the start of this year.

McKinley raised the issue of workforce challenges, noting that nationally there are 7.1 million jobs open. “We can’t fill them.”

Ray Sickles, owner of the sandal maker Gurkee’s, said he deals with a lack of work ethic among his potential employees. “I don’t know how you can instill a work ethic in a generation of people.”

Drug abuse also plays a role. Employees may be clean when they start work, but return to drugs when they start earning money.

Gurkee’s rope sandals, he said, are handmade. It’s low tech and can be tedious for some. The best employees are age 30 and over. “The younger ones don’t have the patience for it.”

Craig Walker, president and CEO of FCX Corp., was among those troubled by the dearth of vocational education programs and the stigma associated with the trades. “Somebody declares they’re on the trade side, they’re ostracized. … You’re missing a whole generation.”

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