Identifying the Need for Trained Machinist in the Greater Tri-Cities Area A Survey of Employers to Evaluate the Future of Machining

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Machinists are skilled tradespeople responsible for running a variety of machine tools to produce precision components for end-users or for use in other manufacturing. This project identifies the current and future change in the number of machinists in Northeast Tennessee region, especially the five-county service area of Northeast State Community College (NSCC). There is a noticeable upward trend in the number of companies that contact the NSCC looking for machining students to fill open positions at their companies. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic information for Machinist and Tool and Die Makers (these two job titles are listed together), the job outlook is only 1% expected growth from 2016 to 2026. This leaves us wondering if there is more potential growth in our immediate area than predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or if another phenomenon is occurring. Using an industry survey, the need for machinists is identified and evaluated to understand the state of this critical job in our service area. The results indicate that the local industry needs more machinists to keep up with current demand, as 6 out of 14 companies reported they currently have open positions. Companies also reported an average of 9 open positions for the lowest skill bracket, 9 positions for mid-level machinist, and 12 for the highest skill level. This is about 9.6% of all the machinists in the survey. The positions that companies are struggling to find qualified candidates, may stay open for long periods of time. Furthermore, most companies have an average 15% of their current machinists eligible to retire, reinforcing the result that companies need more machinist


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