Area manufacturers long have complained they can't fill positions because young people entering the workforce just don't have the necessary skills.

Meanwhile, The York County School of Technology -- which provides that training to area high-schoolers -- is forced to turn away applicants.

School administrators are hoping the 14 county districts that send students to Tech will boost its funding for 2014-15, allowing it to accept 100 more freshmen next school year.

The school currently has 900 applications from students hoping to attend, but only 320 seniors are expected to graduate this spring - meaning 580 ninth-graders will have to make other plans.

The number of students hoping to attend the school has been growing in recent years, according to director David Thomas, who said the school also fielded 900 applications last year.

But last year 450 seniors graduated, creating more room for incoming freshmen, he said.

By adding slots for 100 more freshmen in 2014-15, Tech hopes to better balance the number of students across grade levels and eliminate the fluctuations in the number of slots available from year to year.

That certainly makes sense and should make planning easier.

But the selling point for us is 100 more young people will be trained and ready to take some of the highly skilled -- and well-paid -- manufacturing jobs in our community.


That's because if employers can't fill those positions here, they're almost sure to take them somewhere else.

The gap between what employers need and what potential employees can offer has been growing since 2000, according to local business leaders.

"I don't think a day goes by when I don't hear about the skills gap," said Michael Smeltzer, executive director of the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania.

The association and like-minded organizations such as the York County Economic Alliance and the South Central Workforce Investment Board have been working together to tackle the problem.

One approach has been to stress to schools the skills students need to survive in a manufacturing environment.

The York County School of Technology happens to deliver that type of education and has been doing so for decades.

And for an extra $200,000 in its budget next year, administrators say they can train another 100 students?

That sounds like a bargain to us.

Let's hope the sending districts agree.