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Siemens exec to Perdue: We need skilled workers

Companies are struggling to find qualified workers to fuel any kind of economic recovery and replace retiring baby boomers, business leaders told Gov. Bev Perdue Monday at an economic roundtable in Charlotte.

“We’re adding 1,000 jobs at our site,” Mark Pringle, director of operations for Siemens Energy, said as he pleaded with Perdue to focus on basic education for workers. “If we want to promote ourselves (in Charlotte) as an energy capital, we need skilled workers.”

Pringle was one of eight guests on the roundtable and listened as Perdue bemoaned possible cuts to education in a Republican-proposed state budget of about $19 billion being discussed in Raleigh. Perdue said such huge cuts in education — as much as $100 million — could result in a loss of 600 teaching jobs and would “reflect badly on our state. I mean, that would put us below Mississippi.”

Pringle said Siemens needs competent workers as it expands in Charlotte. The company announced plans last year to create a hub in Charlotte to build gas and steam turbines and create 825 new jobs and more than 100 million square feet of manufacturing capability. The jobs were in addition to a 200-job expansion announced in 2009.

“For every 50 jobs we post, we have 2,000 applicants,” Pringle said. “But only 10 percent of them pass the basic skills tests we give them. We need to focus on the basic math and reading in the beginning grades. Our applicants need to be able to do that math and read blueprints. We have many more trained people we have to hire, and the applicant pool is starting to slow down.”

Scott Baughman can be reached at scott.baughman@mecktimes.com.

One comment

  1. Seimens keeps complaining in the media that they can’t find qualified workers in the US, but they lay off their qualified workers by the hundreds, relocate offices hundreds of miles away so that their qualified workers will quit, and won’t pay even HALF the going rate in our area for a job position! Then when they get a bunch of newbie employees that are working for slave wages and have to learn everything from the ground up, the company gives the local branch manager a 6-digit bonus for saving the company money. Er? They don’t care if you’ve worked there 20 years, either – it’s “don’t let the door hit you on the butt on your way out.”

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