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    Default Retiring

    Where I am now, there are 5 machinists. We are within 7 yrs of probably all of us retiring.
    With the difficulty of finding experienced machinists of varied skill sets (manual & CNC), I wonder what this company will do?
    I suspect this must be a very common issue across the entire USA
    What percentage of employees in your shop are getting close to retiring?

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    70% of machinists are over the age of 45 right now, with something like 45% saying they plan to retire in the next 5-7 years.

    http://www.americanmachinist.com/sho...d_images-22161

    This isn't a problem for the manufacturing industry, it's the problem. Or as we call it in the automation world: job security

    But seriously, the skill gap is a real deal, and a huge problem. The biggest problem might wind up being the loss in knowledge when all the "old guys" retire - because the new guys coming in aren't even at a point where they can learn everything the old guys have to teach yet. The industry is a ton of guys who have been doing it for 30+ years, some folks who have done it on and off, and a bunch of new guys getting in.

    And being 'self-taught' is all well and fine, but as a master at his craft (KPotter) recently posted here - even when you're good, there's no substitute for being able to learn from someone with more experience.

    Self-taught only gets you so far, and is dramatically slower to advance than having a teacher when you need one (as has been discussed to death here, in regards to the self-taught CNC YouTube celebrities.) And those are the guys doing more to get new folks into the industry than anyone. The schools are FINALLY starting to see the value in manufacturing again, after telling everyone to go to college for the last 30 years.

    If anyone's to blame for the destruction of the skilled trades in the US, it's High School guidance counselors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magshooter View Post
    Where I am now, there are 5 machinists. We are within 7 yrs of probably all of us retiring.
    With the difficulty of finding experienced machinists of varied skill sets (manual & CNC), I wonder what this company will do?
    I suspect this must be a very common issue across the entire USA
    What percentage of employees in your shop are getting close to retiring?
    .
    depends on shops as some shops do not hire older employees. they find a reason not too.
    .
    from my experience there is many people who can be hired. too many shops are picky wanting the perfect employee. it be easy to not be so picky and accept new employee needing some training. every employee usually needs 1 to 3 months training. to me so what if employee needs the full 3 months for training
    .
    i applied for mastercam job and they give me a gcode test with pencil and paper to hand write program with no reference info. since i was not expecting it i was slow and was walked out of job interview. took me maybe 1/2 hour practice to be able to pass the test later.
    .
    i have seen shops give a test to new employee and what ever they dont know answer too thats what training is given. point of test is not to fail a person but to identify what training is needed and to train the person so they can take the test and pass it.
    .
    yes too many shops wait til employees leave then they scramble to find somebody to hire they they got to figure out how to train

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    This is what happens when your country experiences a major surge in population (baby boom). It's great for a while, but then fewer and fewer are left to support more and more. Our country is going to end up like Japan where there is a serious shortage of workers and tax payers, and a significant number of older folks drawing benefits and needing help.

    The market will take care of those open jobs. Pay may have to come up, or work may need to be done in a different way, but things will go on.

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    Well, one can't really point a finger of blame anywhere in particular when the pay has not been enticing. As a society, we're hooked on cheapest production costs. This is necessary so that everybody can invest a half a million dollars in a dead end (their house!). Who has any money left to dream with?

    I'm not afraid that we will run out of people. When things get tough enough, a machinist will command $50 to $100 per hour. The scary part is having to pay their bill when you need to fix your obsolete machine.

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    reason is in a recession, people to hire with better skills are easier to get. and companies save money by not training people or having classes setup to train new people
    .
    when economy improves there are fewer to hire. there is every year machinist coming out of day school and night school classes. when i took night school classes they had a job posting board and teacher often asked he knew of jobs and would anybody be interested in a job. many students like myself knew they would loose job soon and were just preparing by updating their skills. so not all students needed a immediate job
    .
    i literally got hired out of high school and got job and after 1 year started a apprenticeship class as a machinist back 37 years ago. my former company didnt complain about not finding anybody. they found trainable people and trained them. they made machinist
    .
    only thing i see is today some companies are resisting setting up training for new people. they want other companies to do it or for person to pay for their own schooling. they might have a long wait finding people that way. this by the way has been a problem for like 2000 years. nothing new about it at all

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    In my experience no one is ready or prepared until they need to be. This goes for countries, companies, managers and individual machinist. There are certain skills and techniques I didn't acquire until they became necessary ( usually after midnight on a rush job).
    I am 35 so I guess that makes me an old millennial and from where I am standing the skill gap doesn't keep me up at night because the willing can overcome that gap if we couldn't we'd all still be banging rocks together and wearing animal skins. What does worry me is an unwillingness or inability in the younger generation to experience discomfort in exchange for accomplishments.

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    if there are good paying jobs, people will train to be machinists. but 20 bucks an hour isnt good pay anymore.
    a decent waiter can make 35 including tips around here- meaning the incentive to spend 2 years in community college, followed by a couple years of low pay intro positions is not very tempting.

    I hire kids fresh from 2 year degrees in welding, and train em. There are kids out there.

    Realistically, the "need" for machinists might be 100,000, or 200,000, but its not ten million. In a country of 300 plus million, finding 100,000 decent machinist apprentices over a five year period is not a crisis.

    Or, we could do what we used to do- admit immigrants.
    every shop I ever visited, 40 years ago, be it machine shop, welding, fabrication, sheet metal, or, even many carpentry or cabinet making, had immigrant workers in it.
    most profitable, modern shops on the west coast have young immigrants, "legal", or not, even today.

    Remember, when manufacturing began in the USA, there were very few Native American steamfitters, welders, machinists, or inventors- we built the industrial revolution almost exclusively with fresh off the boat immigrants...

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    my company had Fanuc bring simulators and setup training class at my factory.
    .
    teacher is hours late on first day of class and next day leaves early for a paid lunch out on the town. i am playing with cnc simulator while teacher is out to lunch that whole afternoon with my companies people. bought them a free lunch i guess
    .
    seems some teachers only want the free trip and other perks but not so interested in actually teaching anybody. just saying i have seen it.
    .
    that and being told in class to go watch youtube videos and there are no books with the class everything is electronic pdf files nowadays. nobody buys books anymore

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    I am very young but I joke that I need something tangible...I still ask for car brochures...and will print out PDFs to put in a binder lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessWaltz View Post
    I am very young but I joke that I need something tangible...I still ask for car brochures...and will print out PDFs to put in a binder lol.
    pretty sad when teachers says go watch youtube videos and there is no book. there is books but they did not bring much only one book they brought 2nd day of class.
    .
    call me old fashioned but watch teacher slowly program working off simple drawing for whole class to see and have teacher stop when anybody got a question is still a good way to teach.
    .
    so after day programming i on my own want to program a simple line left which they call a partial contour. learned a long time ago they often teach pocketing and facing but not something simple like mill on left side of a line.
    .
    literally i have seen it before students after months given simple drawing and cannot program it cause they werent taught the basics . often teacher goes right to advanced stuff skipping basics
    .
    like in mastercam how to use cad model pick edges (curves) for tool paths. class so busy teaching other stuff they skip what you most likely would need to know

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    if there are good paying jobs, people will train to be machinists. but 20 bucks an hour isnt good pay anymore.
    a decent waiter can make 35 including tips around here- meaning the incentive to spend 2 years in community college, followed by a couple years of low pay intro positions is not very tempting.

    I hire kids fresh from 2 year degrees in welding, and train em. There are kids out there.

    Realistically, the "need" for machinists might be 100,000, or 200,000, but its not ten million. In a country of 300 plus million, finding 100,000 decent machinist apprentices over a five year period is not a crisis.

    Or, we could do what we used to do- admit immigrants.
    every shop I ever visited, 40 years ago, be it machine shop, welding, fabrication, sheet metal, or, even many carpentry or cabinet making, had immigrant workers in it.
    most profitable, modern shops on the west coast have young immigrants, "legal", or not, even today.

    Remember, when manufacturing began in the USA, there were very few Native American steamfitters, welders, machinists, or inventors- we built the industrial revolution almost exclusively with fresh off the boat immigrants...
    I say it all the time, America belongs to those willing to work regardless of where they come from. If someone has a problem with an illegal immigrant working here their problem should be with the employer not the employee. Not to call migrants mice but if you leave cheese on the table overnight and a mouse gets into it is it the mouse's fault or yours for leaving out the cheese? To many people with very deep pockets make their pockets even deeper through cheap illegal immigrant labor to really fix the problem.

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    I have been looking for someone for over 2 years. Hell I would train someone with some commonsense. Apparently all those kids just want to watch videos. One kid could tack 2 pieces of metal together square to save his life. Another would have had a broken jaw from being to big of a smartass. Another would have been okay, if you could afford to let him take 8 hrs on a ten minute job, and have it still be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbregn View Post
    I have been looking for someone for over 2 years. Hell I would train someone with some commonsense. Apparently all those kids just want to watch videos. One kid could tack 2 pieces of metal together square to save his life. Another would have had a broken jaw from being to big of a smartass. Another would have been okay, if you could afford to let him take 8 hrs on a ten minute job, and have it still be wrong.
    I have never had a problem getting smart kids who show up on time, and have the basics. I hire kids who are finishing up or have just finished their 2 year AA degrees in welding. They can tig, mig, stick and gas weld better than most old geezers I know, can measure and cut and grind. Of course, you gotta train em in real world stuff, but they show up, work hard, and mostly already have certs.
    Of course, you gotta pay em. These days, I start at sixteen an hour, and 20 is reasonable for good ones. I get away paying less than market because my shop is so interesting, and the work we do is much more fun than most. Market for decent welders around here is 19- 30 bucks an hour.
    One of the guys who worked for me recently went on to a 23$ hour starting job, and they are lucky to have him for that.

    If you are paying reasonable wages, the employees are out there.
    I am friends with the teachers at two local community colleges with welding programs- when I need a welder, I call em up and they send me the best ones.
    Kids who are spending their own time and money to learn welding or machining at a community college are already motivated, and trained to show up.
    Flathead and Bozeman both have welding programs, and there are probably more in your state as well. Call up the instructors.

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    Back when I started machining almost 40 years ago places in my area hired trainees who just passed a basic math test at double the minimum wage. Now these days in that same area they hire button pushers for minimum wage and a lot of the places have very little room for advancement. Automation has cost a lot of jobs and opportunities for those who have little skills.

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    If they have no skills, automation is probably giving them the only job they're qualified for.

    "When this hopper is empty, fill it."
    "When the blue light goes on, push this button."
    "When this hopper is full, empty it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by wawoodman View Post
    If they have no skills, automation is probably giving them the only job they're qualified for.

    "When this hopper is empty, fill it."
    "When the blue light goes on, push this button."
    "When this hopper is full, empty it."
    I work in automation, and in my experience this is only true in very well thought out and refined setups. Theres always things going wrong, wearing out, and needing fixing. Hiring people is always a challenge, and most kids can't fit the bill. Some adults can't, either.


    Sent from my XT1053 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    If you are paying reasonable wages, the employees are out there.
    Secret of the Universe in eleven words ....


    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny SolidWorks View Post
    If anyone's to blame for the destruction of the skilled trades in the US, it's High School guidance counselors.
    You can blame some of that on Vietnam also. When a student deferment meant not coming home in a green plastic bag, the perceived value of a college degree went through the roof. Afterwards, things never went back to normal.

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    This upcoming generation doesn't seem to be too interested in physical/hands on types of jobs. There also seems to be a stigma that if you don't get a 4 yr college degree than you are somehow less. I think as more and more of the baby boomers retire we are going to see a real shortage in blue collar jobs--not just machinist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny SolidWorks View Post
    70% of machinists are over the age of 45 right now, with something like 45% saying they plan to retire in the next 5-7 years.


    That's what we were being told when I got into this trade 15yrs ago, and they were probably saying it to the class 30yrs before me. Electricians got the same speech, and yet some never found work in it when out of school, pretty sure every trade hears the same story.


    As to the main topic.
    Fact is work needs to get done and someone's gonna do it, if that shop doesn't plan and pass the knowledge to younger employees it'll probably go out of business and another shop will grow from their mistakes, and another, and another. I know a few guys who did retire at some shops around and they were good, really good, at first it took a little time for the newer guys to get up to par or close enough that its functional, but the work still got done.
    I don't expect that retirement will be something to worry about for me...

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