WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Kristin Maier Carlson owns Peerless Precision in Westfield, where they manufacture machine parts for the aerospace, defense, and medical industries.
The head of the state legislature’s manufacturing caucus Senator Eric Lesser, along with members of the MassTech Collaborative, toured the machine shop which has 30 employees.
The big drawback for these thriving companies: recruiting enough workers. This work suffers from an image problem.
“We absolutely need people to run the machines; not all of us rely on robots,” Carlson explained. “I need the people coming out of high school, the technical schools, community colleges to help us make the things that help change the world.”
Peerless Precision employee John Lake has a high school education. Over the years, he’s detected negative vibes from people his own age about doing the work he does.
“There’s a lot of young people who just don’t consider it. Or they think because they didn’t attend a trade school they can’t do it,” Lake told 22News. “But it’s just not true.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by State Senator Lesser. “It’s a great career. You can make a lot of money,” he said. “You can make a good career without student loans and a four-year college degree.”
As a result, small manufacturing companies in western Massachusetts are desperately searching for employees partly from the image problem and the need to step up training for young men and women who will not be going to a four-year college.