Most manufacturers offer at least occasional in-house instruction as factory work has become more about brains than brawn. But Tooling U-SME, an organization focused on manufacturing education that's part of an industrial nonprofit in Dearborn, Mich., found in a recent survey that just 25 percent have a structured training program. That percentage probably drops among companies as small as Camcraft, which has annual revenue of $75 million.
“We have no choice. If you look at this market, this industry, the easy stuff is going, is gone—offshore,” says John Walker, vice president of human resources at the Hannover Park, Ill.-based parts manufacturer. “Our competitive edge is we do the really, really hard things.”