Daily Struggles of Machining Manufacturing Companies, Finding Qualified Talent in the Metal Manufacturing Industry

M&R Engineering Orange County local machining m

As a metal manufacturing industry, we are excited to see the big push to bring machining manufacturing companies jobs back to the US with the “re-shoring” and “American made” movements. However, for current business owners, there is a large obstacle in the way of our success. This is the lack of talent to complete these machined parts projects.  Simply put, there is not a large enough qualified labor force to fill the current need.

“American machining manufacturing companies already face significant skills shortages and are on pace to have two million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2025. Many of these positions require higher-tech skills to operate and support advanced manufacturing equipment.” Mark Crawford explains in his article, “‘New Collar’ Workers Are the Future of Manufacturing.” In other words, finding qualified talent is going to become even more difficult with the increase in demand. In this article, we dive into why this is happening and what you can do about it.


“Over the last 10 years, I have noticed that the factory populations have become more and more out of balance. There is a heavy concentration of employees with many years of experience at the expert level of their craft. In conjunction with the very few entry-level employees looking to build their careers.  As years go by the expert employees retire, leaving a huge gap in the skill sets available,” describes Vice President and COO, Natalia Sephton.


  1. The youth is taught that the manufacturing industry is undesirable & low paying. The industry falls prey to a widespread negative stereotype which causes people to pursue other career paths.
  2.  The lack of available educational opportunities. There are very few trade-schools or community colleges offering courses on the necessary subjects.


Presently, there are a few things you can do to help improve these issues. First and foremost, take part in and support the re-branding initiatives for the manufacturing industry. The government and large companies have recently put a lot of energy into re-branding the machining manufacturing companies industry as something more desirable and respectable. As a matter of fact, Mark Crawford further describes this phenomenon his article, “‘New Collar’ Workers Are the Future of Manufacturing,” by explaining that “these workers represent the “new collar” workforce, which requires more specialized training compared to the traditional “blue collar” assembly job,” assisting in changing the connotations around the industry.

Some examples initiatives include Manufacturing Day, Manufacturing Week, and STEM. M&R Engineering as a company makes a point to always support these initiatives and has found the process to not only benefit the industry, but also the local high school students.


Unfortunately, on the issue of educational opportunities, it seems there is less support for change. These highly technical positions, “require workers with more advanced skills—typically one or two years of post-secondary education or training,” states Mark Crawford. This is especially true for specializations, for example, machined parts. However, this training is not readily available. Natalia explains, “I do not see a sufficient effort in the number of available programs to educate machinists. Presently, our two only local options are CMTC and a program at Cerritos College.  We partner with those schools also but their curriculum is very limited and at best you get an entry-level metal manufacturing employee with very limited skills.” In the meantime, M&R Engineering has found a workaround for this issue, an internal apprenticeship program. “Incidentally, since we cannot rely on outside organizations to assist in creating a qualified labor market, we have created our own,” Natalia illustrates.

Check out the following video to see what M&R Engineering does for our metal manufacturing apprentices.


In conclusion, there are two main ways to help improve the trajectory of the manufacturing industry’s labor market. First, is to get involved with the re-branding initiatives for the industry as a whole. Second, to create an internal training program to assist in the education of the current labor force. We know that creating an internal training program is no small task. If you would like some advice on this subject please contact us by clicking here, and we would be happy to write an article on the topic with some pointers.


  1. Crawford, Mark. “‘New Collar’ Workers Are the Future of Manufacturing.” Gray: Engineering, Architecture, and Construction, 21 Mar. 2018, www.gray.com/news/blog/2018/03/21/%E2%80%9Cnew-collar%E2%80%9D-workers-are-the-future-of-manufacturing.

Our CNC Machine Shop recognized as CMTC Made in California Manufacturer of the Week!

M&R Engineering, a CNC Machine Shop, was chosen as California Manufacturing Network’s Made in California Manufacturer of the week! M&R Engineering was chosen due to our 40 years of experience in delivering high precision Swiss screw machine parts while supporting the local Californian community as a CNC machine shop.

Supporting the Local Community- Made in California Manufacturer

M&R Engineering takes pride in our ability to manufacture screw machine parts in California. Contributing to the local community and participating in the growth of the manufacturing industry are two company core values. We are proud to say we have been a Made in California Manufacturer for over 40 years.

Additionally, M&R Engineering contributes to the local industry by teaching local high school students about opportunities in the manufacturing industry. Each year on National Manufacturing Day, we bring 30-50 local high school students to the M&R Engineering CNC machine shop in the city of Orange, CA for a day of learning and fun. This day usually consists of presentations by the different departments in the company, as well a tour of the facility. In addition to the standard agenda, this past year we were able to share a hands-on experience with the students. As a result, the students were able to measure high precision plastic parts with the Keyence XM Series Hand-Held Probe CMM. Most notably, the attendance of National Manufacturing Day has been growing year over year.

Is being a Made in California Manufacturer important to you and your company? If so, please show your support for Made in California Manufactured parts by sharing this article!


M&R Engineering received a Supplier Appreciation Award

L3 Communication awards an Orange County based screw machine shop, M&R Engineering,  with Supplier Appreciation Award for “Exemplary Quality and Delivery Performance”!   M&R Engineering takes pride in delivering quality screw machine metal and plastic products on time to our customers. Therefore, we are excited to receive this recognition!

M&R Engineering started to provide screw machine parts to L3 Communication early 2017.  Within one year we were able to demonstrate our expertise in providing quality high precision machined parts.   We have over 60 pieces equipment including Lathe, SWISS and Mill and Davenport machines.  We work two shifts, as a result, we are able to react quickly to customer short lead time needs.