FOND DU LAC - A shortage in skilled labor for manufacturing has employers worried about the future.
But some groups are trying to change that. The Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce is trying something new to expose high school students to careers in manufacturing.
At MAG in Fond du Lac, high school students are getting a close up look at what could become a career.
"Once you see them you find your aspects and your interests in the jobs and whether you want to work there or not," said senior Jacob Schwefel of Campbellsport.
The Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce is sponsoring two days of tours for about 250 high school students. The goal is to show them the opportunities that exist in manufacturing.
"If you look at the age of the workforce it's getting old in manufacturing and we need to expose the youth to the manufacturing environment," said Jim Spannbauer, vice president of operations for MAG.
"In this area with the retirement in the next 15 years we are probably going to lose ten to fourteen thousand employees," said Mary Denzin with the Fond du Lac Association of Commerce.
Not only is the manufacturing workforce aging, but the jobs are changing as well. Many of the jobs in manufacturing today are becoming more and more high tech, but students say that's not a problem for them.
"I play video games, I'm pretty good with computers and I know my way around the Internet," said senior Matt Nelson of Fond du Lac.
Fun and games that easily translate into job skills that will soon be in high demand.
"The people that work in this organization are highly skilled, they know how to set up the controls how to do the high accuracy tolerance of parts," said Spannbauer.
And with skilled labor becoming a critical shortage, it's important to recruit future manufacturers now.
"Just exposing them to it, many people live in Fond du Lac and see the outside of this building but a majority of them don't know what's inside of it," said Denzin.
"Ever since I was little I've always been interested in how things work," said Nelson.
For jobs of the future.
Mercury Marine is one of a number of other Fond du Lac area manufacturing companies participating in the tours.
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