FOND DU LAC - As about 60 employees go about their duties at Mid-States Aluminum Corporation in Fond du Lac, the company's job openings board is bare. It is a sight, business leaders in the area say will soon change.
"The census tells us we do not have adequate replacement workers for those individuals that will be retiring from now until 2026," said Joe Reitemeier, the President and CEO of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce.
The Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce and Moraine Park Technical College surveyed the area's workforce about retirement intentions. They found out, 15 years from now, there could be more than 19,000 unfilled jobs. Employers say they will have different expectations for the future replacement workers.
"For all practical purposes they want to replace all of them physically, but they want them replaced with individuals with higher skill sets than the ones that are vacating," said Reitemeier.
The study was first conducted in 2008. Five years later, more people from the "baby boom era" expressed a desire to stop working earlier.
"They are much more interested in accelerating that process having gone through a recession and a couple of wars and a lot of political unrest," said Reitemeier
Education officials say the study has them altering curriculum.
"It helps us structure our data and work with our advisory committees to make sure we are providing the skill sets and types of employees that they need going into the future," said Josh Bullock, the vice president of strategic advancement for Moraine Park Technical College.
The study found skilled labor is atop many companies' wish lists, not only for the future, but also the present.
"We are seeing a major talent mismatch right now between the skill levels we have of our existing employees and where the jobs are today and where they are going to be in the future," said Bullock.
Fond du Lac leaders hope the need outlined in the new study will influence people to start learning the necessary skills. That way businesses can keep pace, when the future retirees decide to call it quits.
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