NEWS & INSIGHTS
Below is Herb’s letter to the editor that was published in the Boston Globe:
AUGUST 09, 2015
IN RESPONSE to the Aug. 2 article “Is the skills gap real?” (Ideas & Opinion), I offer a resounding yes. As president of a manufacturing company, and chairman of the National Tooling and Machining Association, I know firsthand the difficulty of finding skilled workers. According to a 2015 survey, 84 percent of our member companies have open skilled positions, and 95 percent of those are facing “moderate” or “severe” problems finding employees.
Manufacturers know that this problem cannot be solved by raising wages, though we wish it were that simple. For example, in Massachusetts last year, the average tool and die maker earned more than $50,000, which is consistent with average salaries for other Bay Staters. In some states, wages are considerably higher.
Finally, any notion that industry is blaming American workers for this problem is false. We are not relying on workers to solve it alone. Nearly 70 percent of our members work directly with community and vocational colleges, and another 40 percent recruit from high schools. In addition, many of our members foot the bill for skills training programs.
For us, the biggest challenge is not proving that there is a skills gap — we know it exists. Our challenge is showing a new generation of workers that manufacturing offers great careers and helping them excel in manufacturing today.
On October 3rd Homeyer Precision Manufacturing hosted students from Marthasville Elementary, Borgia High School, East Central College, and State Technical College of Missouri in honor of National Manufacturing Day.
We opened our doors to roughly 150 students for a facility tour, a screening of the American Made Movie, and snacks. Manufacturing Day is an important event to Homeyer so we can reach out to the next generation and show them some of amazing opportunities that are available in a career in manufacturing right here in our community. The American Made movie screening gave insight into the importance of manufacturing to the economy and our local communities.
STLCC’s Latest Workforce Research Uncovers New Perceptions on Talent, Cautious Employment Growth
St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group presented the fifth annual State of St. Louis Workforce Report, highlighting new employer perceptions on key talent development issues such as the value of online degrees, industry recognized certificates and experienced workers. The report also revealed a slight increase in the number of companies looking to expand employment levels and a corresponding decrease in companies expecting to reduce employment levels.
The findings were released today to more than 400 business and community leaders at the Missouri Botanical Garden as part of a St. Louis Business Journal seminar series. A panel of distinguished corporate executives representing key employing industries also provided a robust discussion of key findings. The seminar was televised live on HEC-TV.
“As we seek to understand trends in employment growth, we also must understand the types of skills, credentials and modalities of instruction that have value in the labor market,” said Roderick Nunn, D.M., vice chancellor for economic development and workforce solutions for St. Louis Community College who also moderated today’s panel discussion. “This year’s research confirms that the economy continues to grow at a steady rate with 38.6 percent of employers expecting to increase employment in the coming year, compared to 33.1 percent a year ago. We also have strong confirmation that industry-recognized certificates and online degrees have significant value among area employers.”
STLCC officials today were joined by executives from AEP River Operations, Edward Jones, Homeyer Precision Manufacturing and SSM Health Care to engage the audience in strategic conversations on the key findings of this annual workforce intelligence report for the region.
In summary, key findings from the fifth annual survey of more than 1,222 employees include:
•As the recession fades into the past and recovery takes hold, employer optimism continues to grow at a slow but steady pace. More employers plan to increase their employment levels and fewer plan to decrease their levels than in 2012. The majority of employers (57 percent) plan to maintain their current levels, reflecting a bias toward caution.
•Economic conditions continue to be cited most often as a barrier to expansion, but the number of employers reporting that as a barrier is down sharply from the previous report. For the first time since the inception of the survey, the shortage of workers with knowledge and skills has replaced government policies as the barrier to expansion most cited after economic conditions.
•While employers continue to recognize substantial shortcomings in their applicant pools, a slack labor market has allowed them to be more selective when hiring. This is reflected in increasing experience and education requirements and in the number of employers reporting that they are hiring only workers who are already trained. These strategies also are necessitated by the need to acquire workers who can adequately function in a growing knowledge economy. Employers both have increased the number of full-time workers they plan to hire and their use of contract employees and temporary agencies. This may reflect different strategies for securing high-skilled versus low-skilled and specialized workers.
•This year’s survey attempted to gauge the premium that employers place on experience and the relative value of industry credentials and online degrees. Given a choice, employers would favor an employee with extensive experience over a recent graduate. They view online degrees and industry credentials as acceptable for entry- and mid-level positions, but favor traditional degrees for advanced positions.
“The key takeaway from today is that there are still a lot of opportunities for partnerships,” said Deborah Walkenhorst, regional vice president for human resources at SSM Health Care-St. Louis. “We seek out those partnership opportunities for the older workforce as well as recent graduates.”
“In terms of hiring, the drought last year ruined crops and weakened the demand for corn. This year we are seeing a bumper crop and expect robust demand. We expect to increase our workforce by 10 to 12 percent,” said Keith Darling, president at AEP River Operations. “The vast majority of our jobs are for unskilled labor and we do on-the-job training. We still have an apprentice program for our skilled labor force because many of our jobs require U.S. Coast Guard certification – regulations demand it. In the river transportation industry, we have found chronic skills gaps in workers because of the licensure requirements, and they must have the requisite experience. Many of our unskilled jobs are filled by younger males because of the physical nature of the work, and we have found some very fine young people. We are really seeing a gap in soft skills such as leadership – because a person has to be in charge of a crew – and in teamwork and collaboration.”
In the manufacturing realm, one local company hires both trade school/community college graduates and experiences workers. There is significant on-the-job training as well as mentoring for skilled positions.
“We prefer to hire individuals with the skills required for the job because that part of our company is so small and we don’t have a good mentoring program yet,” said Herb Homeyer, president and owner of Homeyer Precision Manufacturing. “Individuals with online degrees have not applied for positions with us. What you don’t tend to get with an online program is hands-on or lab work. If you have an online program that couples with hands-on training there is nothing wrong with that. In this industry, hands-on experience is absolutely preferable.
Regarding soft skills, Brian Ashworth, principal in human resources at Edward Jones, said: “It’s not as much about training in critical thinking and problem solving as it is about developing those skills.”
Ashworth has good news for veterans seeking employment. “We have several programs focusing on the military. Close to 1,000 military and ex-military will be hired this year, and veterans possess many transferable skills that meet our needs,” he said.
In addition to Nunn, other presenters were Myrtle Dorsey, chancellor, St. Louis Community College, and Alan Spell, economic and workforce research manager, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.
For the second straight year, STLCC conducted a survey of recent community college graduates. Nearly 190 STLCC program graduates responded to the survey. In-depth focus groups of interested respondents also were held with graduates to provide the report with more color and context around the students’ experience.
Visit STLCC.edu/STLworkforce to download the full report and/or the four-page summary.
(Marthasville, MO, February 6, 2013) – Homeyer Tool & Die today announced that it has received a 2012 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Company issues the award annually to recognize suppliers who have achieved superior performance. Homeyer Tool & Die maintained a Gold composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period, from Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012.
This year, Boeing recognized 594 suppliers who achieved either a Gold or a Silver level Boeing Performance Excellence Award. Homeyer Tool & Die is one of only 153 suppliers to receive the Gold level of recognition.
“This honor is a reward for the excellent team work we have here at Homeyer. Without the dedicated individuals and our commitment to teamwork, none of this would be possible,” said Herb Homeyer, President of Homeyer Precision Manufacturing.
Homeyer Tool & Die supplies special tooling to Boeing for many of their aircraft programs, including F/A-18 and F-15 in St. Louis, V-22 in Philadelphia, and AH-64 Apache in Mesa, AZ.
Homeyer has been delivering precision parts for some of the world’s most demanding industries for more than 20 years. It’s a mark we’ve achieved thanks to our ongoing investments in manufacturing equipment—and our commitment to bringing on the most talented, dedicated, and highly skilled employees for every job. Recently we have moved forward with our vision and rebranded our company and changed our name to Homeyer Precision Manufacturing.
For more information on the Boeing Performance Excellence Award, visit http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/doingbiz/supplier_portal/bpea.html
Contact: Tim Wetzel, Sales 636.433.2244 email@example.com
Herb Homeyer has been a member of the NTMA since 1996 and he has demonstrated a passion for industry training in many ways over the years.
He has volunteered to serve on several NTMA teams that are focused on leading efforts on workforce development, next generation skilled workforce, and advancements in manufacturing technology, including the NTMA Education Team in which he is currently serving his 5th year – 2 of which he served as team leader; the NTMA Workforce Development Leadership Team in which he is currently serving his 2nd year as the Leadership Team Leader; and he is also currently leading the Military to Manufacturing-Fact Finding Team.
Herb has been instrumental in the formation and advancement of NTMA-U and has been intimately involved in many other NTMA education and training efforts, including the robotics program (NRL), training textbook review and updates, AMPED (formally PJAM), NIMS implementation activities, Foundation grants and scholarships, the National Apprentice Competition, national training awards and the collaborations with groups such as Skills-USA and the AMT/NIMS Student Summit.
The St. Louis Chapter has also been fortunate to have Herb as a steadfast volunteer, holding the offices of the Board of Directors (2005-Present); President (2009-2011), Vice-President (2007–2009), and Trustee, and serving on several chapter committees such as the Workforce Development, Membership, Golf Tournament, and Joint Meeting Committees.
Herb serves on an advisory board for his local high school and college machine tool programs and in the past served on the local Linn State College Advisory Board. He was recognized last year as a longtime WINGS Board Member – an educational foundation for the Washington School District. He is a chamber member of the Marthasville Area Chamber of Commerce and as a company and a family, has supported local charities, schools and churches.
Herb was awarded the NTMA 6S Excellence Award in 2010, in which the goal of this award program is to change the image of the metalworking industry so we can recruit new students into our training programs, retain the employees we have and better market our companies to our customers.
And he received the first annual NTMA Excellence in Manufacturing Technology Award, in which his company was selected based on the technical merit of tools and technologies used to solve a quality issue for the military.
Article credit: NTMA National Staff
The Kansas City and St. Louis Chapters of the NTMA were well represented in Washington DC by a team of members who made the trip to attend the NTMA/PMA “One Voice” legislative conference May 8th and 9th.
Those making the trip were: Dick & Rick Schwind of Continental Tool, Craig Schroer of Unitech Inc, Greg Carr of Deco Tool Supply & Tom Goodpasture of Pride Manufacturing. The group joined with Herb Homeyer of Homeyer Tool & Mike Mittler of Mittler Bro. from the St. Louis Chapter to make visits to both Kansas & Missouri Representatives.
During the-two day event the group visited three US Senators and eight US House Representatives. Issues discussed focused on the serious condition of the trained skilled workers for our industry.
Currently manufacturing suffers with a 600,000 skilled worker shortage nationally with 2.7 million expected to retire in the next 10 years. Taxation and regulation that burdens American manufacturers and makes the US the most expensive place in the world to operate was also discussed. The EPA’s current discussion and consideration of nickel as a hazardous substance was also a hot topic. The team came back feeling that they had a number of good conversations. Manufacturing and the machining industry is being looked to as a solution to create jobs and being welcomed by both sides of the aisle to discuss the possibilities unlike many past years.
“Imagine it,” says Herb Homeyer, president of Homeyer Tool and Die Company. “The technician loads the feeder with bars and goes home. We have provided him with internet access, and at 8:30 or 9 p.m., he can fire it up and log onto his machine to make sure everything is still good.” As his excitement grows, he says, “We’re not fully there yet, but these are our goals.” Achieving goals is one of his specialties. Read More »
Herb Homeyer can still remember the first job that his company, Homeyer Tool and Die, handled back in May 1990 when it was just getting off the ground.
“It was a fixture for the Binkley Company, which is now SAF Holland,” Homeyer recalled.
Sitting at his desk in the company’s Marthasville location, Homeyer held up one of the products Homeyer Tool and Die makes today, 20 years later.
“These are forceps for cauterizing blood vessels during neurosurgery,” he said.
Homeyer Tool and Die offers concept to assembly work in precision machining, tool and die, specialty machines, EDM (electronic discharge machine) and engineering between its two facilities, in Marthasville and Union. Read More »