Dirk VanEnkevort wanted to take advantage of a shipbuilding boom when his family's company leased one of the largest dry docks in the Great Lakes region in 2005. But now he is so short-handed he has turned to robots to help keep up....and it ain't getting better. Get it right so we can have a stable industrial base - or you will never be able to build a fleet you need.
His company, Erie Shipbuilding LLC, has since hired about 150 workers and equipped the facility on Lake Erie with sophisticated metalworking tools — including robots. It now has orders to build eight oceangoing barges and plans to hire additional workers as needed.
But as his order book fills, VanEnkevort faces a problem hampering dozens of other midsize commercial shipyards across the country: a shortage of skilled, experienced workers capable of assembling and welding freight ships.
Hat tip Mike.