Some Piedmont companies struggling to fill jobs

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Schools like Weaver Academy in Greensboro are in-tune with the types of jobs that are hardest to fill in Guilford County.

Teachers there want their students trained and prepared for exactly those positions.

Dr. Keith Debbage, Professor of Geography at UNCG, released a workforce survey showing more than 1,500 difficult-to-fill jobs open in Guilford County. The positions ranged from advanced manufacturing to computer skills, aviation and supply chain logistics.

"It's good news that we in fact have jobs that are open and ready to be taken. The bad news is these companies have struggled to fill them," explained Dr. Debbage.

His study showed it is taking companies three to six months to fill those positions on average. The wage range for the jobs is $30,000 to $50,000.

Two clusters of open jobs were south of airport and southeast Greensboro.

"Weaver Academy is a performing arts and advanced technology education center," explained Jeffrey Gates. He transitioned from his career as an engineer to a teaching position at Weaver Academy.

He's also the Director of the Career and Technical Department at Weaver, where they teach metal working, aviation, digital technology and auto classes just to name a few.

These students are the perfect eventual candidates for those hard-to-fill positions in the Triad.

"I see so many things that we teach that would have helped prepare me for my engineering career and probably would have put me two steps ahead of my peers in college," Gates pointed out.

Guilford County Schools Career and Technical Education Director Bob Gantt says to help fill our county-wide skills gap, they would love to see even more students involved in CTE programs.

"We also need to partner with businesses to give our students work experience so as a senior they go out, engage in an internship, they get practical work experience. That way when they leave us, they have a diploma, an industry credential, and work experience," Gantt explained.

He encourages any industry businesses to contact them about partnerships, internships, tour or work shadowing for students on technical career paths.

They believe introducing STEM ideas early with critical thinking skills is a priceless combination for our future workforce.