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Skilled worker shortage cost

NNBW Staff

The ongoing dearth of skilled mid-level technicians in the region’s workforce translates to an economic impact of millions lost.

So said Ron Weisinger, executive director of Northern Nevada Development Authority, when he addressed the Critical Issues Conference last week in Douglas County.

A big fish slipped the hook last month when NBTY, Inc., formerly Nature’s Bounty, which owns Vitamin

World abandoned its search for a manufacturing plant site here in favor of an adjoining state, Arizona.

The New York-based manufacturer of vitamin supplements which posted $2 million in revenue last year would have employed 700, says Weisinger. And its factory here would have translated to an economic

impact of $80 million, he says.

The company sought a location in northern Nevada from which to serve the California market but chose another state because it felt this region could not provide the trained workforce it needs, says Weisinger.

While upper management generally moves with the company and the hourly workers are here at hand, Weisinger points to the missing element, the mid-level technician: Middle managers in the trades, and those with mechanical engineering skills and computer programming skills to tweak and maintain the equipment and systems.

A consortium of industrial parks, brokers and employment agencies had teamed up to woo the manufacturing giant. Meanwhile, development agency staffers did the salary studies to determine what wages the company would need to pay workers here and then offered to take on the task of recruitment for the missing positions but to no avail.