How Oregon Works: Manufacturers are getting creative to succeed in the labor crunch


As president of the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Aaron Fox works with companies on solutions to problems including labor shortages and supply chain disruptions. He also sees first-hand the resourcefulness of firms in the face of these challenges.

He spoke with the Portland Business Journal about how workforce problems are affecting manufacturers and where they are looking for solutions. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Businesses of all types are having hiring problems. How has it been for manufacturers? It’s been a significant challenge for them for quite some time, pretty much across the board. It’s skill-related, but it’s also just entry-level.

It’s becoming exponentially more challenging, even getting people to show up to interviews. It’s just really been challenging for all manufacturers big and small. And I know that this is going to continue to be a challenge for quite some time. About 30% of the workforce in manufacturing are baby boomers that will be retiring in the next five years. So there’s a gap in the pipeline that’s pretty significant.


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