Business leaders have often complained of a skills gap in the local manufacturing industry.

Last year there were 1,000 job openings listed by members of the Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania, and the positions include welders, machinists, automation workers and professional engineers, according to Michael Smeltzer, executive director of the association.

"We're trying to fill those positions, but there's a severe skills gap in the world of manufacturing," he said. "The technology has increased significantly, but the skill of the workforce has not."

Moreover, there's potential for a significant number of retirees and nobody to replace them, Smeltzer said.

"Knowing our most skilled workers are leaving, we needed to develop an apprentice element," he said.

The new Manufacturing Training Center at 320 Busser Road in Emigsville will train apprentices and teach manufacturing skills to the regional workforce. It's located in the same building as New Concept Technology.

The new center is an initiative of the Employer Education Foundation.

Training will be offered in several fields: machining, tool and die, AutoCAD, hydraulics, electrical and more.

The center was operational Monday, and the York County Economic Alliance hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the facility on Wednesday.

Prior to opening the center, the apprenticeship program operated for several years at local manufacturers.


At New Concept Technology, apprentices got on-the-job training during 10,000 hours spread across a five-year program, according to Don Hubbard, operations manager.

The most important skill those workers could have was "math, math and more math," he said.

"Math is needed for just about every position -- from the tool room to working on the assembly lines," Hubbard said.

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at