EUCLID -- A new $2,000 scholarship being offered by a Euclid company offers a chance to revisit a big challenge facing many manufacturers in Northeast Ohio -- finding enough high-skilled workers.
HGS Industrial Surplus runs what amounts to an industrial flea market in the old GM plant in Euclid.
It buys and resells old factories' equipment and furnishings to other companies.
And while it may not need highly-skilled workers, many of its customers do and have made that problem known.
So together with MAGNET, the manufacturing advocacy group, it's offering a $2,000 scholarship for Northeast Ohio students pursuing degrees in manufacturing-related academic areas.
The scholarship is available to all U.S. students enrolled or enrolling in the Fall of 2013 at either Lorain County Community College, Lakeland Community College or Cuyahoga Community College.
Students should be in or planning to pursue a credit-based certificate, associate, bachelor's or master's degree in Engineering, Engineering Technology, Electrical, Mechanical, Welding, Manufacturing or Construction Curriculum.
There's a minimum 2.5 GPA requirement.
Applications are available at: http://www.teamhgr.com/scholarship/
They must be postmarked no later than March 30, 2013 and the winner will be notified on or after May 1.
HGR's President Brian Krueger said, "Without the manufacturing sector in Cleveland, we probably never would have existed...this is our way of giving back."
MAGNET guesses there are about 1,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs going unfilled within 50 miles of Cleveland.
It's a problem at Eastlake's Astro Manufacturing, where workers make and test medical devices.
Astro's Brett Crawford said, "We've had a hard time for years on the mechanical side, technical assembly...we can't find them."
MAGNET's Work Force Development Chief Judith Crocker said, "There continues to be a lot of jobs that are vacant due to a lack of skilled work force. ...One of the biggest issues is indeed a lack of skills."
Tri'C's Advanced Technology expert Robert Stewart says the retirement of aging baby boomers will aggravate the problem.
"It's going to get worse...these jobs need to be replaced. High-paying, lots of seniority, good-paying manufacturing jobs, " he said.
Student Sharane Johnson is just starting a precision machining technology course.
"I see myself in the future doing really big things with the trade," he said.
And $2,000, the cost of about a year in the program, would certainly help.
MAGNET says other companies are considering offering or contributing to similar scholarships.
Crocker says jobs may start at $15 per hour, but go up to $25 or $30 with additional training.