Guest Column: Celebrate skilled trades, make workforce stronger

Manufacturers across our country — and right here in the Quad Cities — are facing real challenges. Inflation, partially driven by supply chain disruptions, is making it tough to meet increased demand. 

That’s not the worst of it. The bigger issue facing manufacturing is a lack of skilled labor. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are nearly 4 million job vacancies in industries responsible for most transportation, construction and mechanical needs. 

Skilled trades people are essential. They are the talented and dedicated men and women who keep our economy moving forward. Now more than ever, we should celebrate and honor their work this month for National Skilled Trades Day.  

As our community leaders advocate for skilled-trades work to increase the pipeline of ready and able labor, businesses also need to step up. That means finding ways to enhance productivity and safety for those currently in the workforce who are already doing their best day-in and day-out to keep our manufacturing base humming.   

Making the workplace safer, while improving quality and productivity has always been a focus of ALM Positioners. Forty years ago, we opened our doors with a mission to enhance manufacturing safety, productivity and improve work processes for companies and laborers working in large-scale assembly and welding.  

Hooking large, heavy parts and fixtures to chains, forklifts and cranes can be dangerous and time consuming. ALM’s positioners allow operators to safely speed up the handling portion of rotating and lifting parts to orient them for the best access — improving quality, requiring less manpower and saving labor hours. 

While our product focus is on large-scale welding, fabrication, and assembly positioners, our business approach and strategic focus is on problem solving. Improving worker safety, increasing productivity and ergonomics means a better work environment. It means doing more, faster.  

As manufacturers, we cannot control inflation, or far-reaching supply chain disruptions. We can focus our efforts on issues surrounding skilled labor availability. 

So, let us focus on what we can control: creating the best manufacturing environment possible. With people and processes in mind, we can work together to overcome the most challenging obstacles, today and well into the future.

As we recognize National Skilled Trades Day on Wednesday, May 4, I’m proud that we can play a small part of making workforces even stronger, which is something worth truly celebrating. 

Pat Pollock is the chief executive officer of ALM Positioners in Rock Island. He can be reached at [email protected].

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