MEDFORD, Ore. -- Every week, NewsWatch12 is following a different skilled worker or company, discovering opportunities available for students in Southern Oregon. A lack of young, skilled workers is creating problems and might create more issues down the road for those trying to retire. Too many parents and children think that the only path to success starts with a four-year college degree.
This week NewsWatch12 spoke with workers at the American Industrial Door in Medford. Managers there said they've been understaffed for years and continue to struggle to find employees willing to work hard.
Josh Hill, General Manager of America Industrial Door, said, "It's not good, I don't know where the disconnect happened, but none of these kids were taught how to work hard. It's just really a challenge."
Many great paying jobs doing important work are going unfilled, including jobs at American Industrial Door. It has been licensed in Oregon since 1983 and opened another branch in Grants Pass this year. Management said they didn't start having staffing issues until around 2010. Right now, they only have 28 employees, but management said they'd prefer to have at least 35.
"You don't have to go to college to make it to a decent living," Hill explained.
He started working at American Industrial Door when he turned 18-years-old. Up until now, he's never had trouble finding employees.
"You start noticing the younger kids - they want computer jobs or tech jobs and it's really hard to find help," Hill said.
Nicholas Yeaw is 23-years-old. He started working here about 3 years ago.
"I think jumping right into the field gave me a big advantage," Yeaw said.
The staff here told NewsWatch12 they're thankful for Yeaw.
Hill said, "It's hard to find kids these days who unfortunately want to work, and so it's been a tough finding young kids who want to work hard and show up and Nick's been a great employee."
Yeaw said he doesn't regret not going to college and his message for kids in high school now: "You can always go back and get school on something particular. Don't feel pressure and go and get all of the schooling on something you don't even know if you love yet. So find something you love before you go to school for it."'