Manufacturing is the heart of our economy. For generations, hardworking men and women have produced the goods that built the foundation of American business. Despite the challenges of recent years, the industry is thriving and the outlook is positive for future expansion and opportunity. Yet today, an estimated 4,000 manufacturing jobs remain unfilled each month in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. The supply of qualified employees is falling far behind the demand. Unless addressed, this workforce gap is expected to intensify in the years ahead, limiting our capacity for economic prosperity.

Hillsborough and Pinellas counties’ leading economic and workforce development organizations joined together to quantify the area’s difficult to fill manufacturing skill sets. The analysis was designed to be comprehensive enough to reach the granular level at which manufacturers must make decisions, and also to account for the unique strengths the area has in component, medical, and aerospace manufacturing. In total, 107 skill sets across 16 job type categories were surveyed. The survey asked for current, 12 month, and 12-36 month vacancies. There were 109 responding companies, representing 14,715 employees, or 28.9% of the entire manufacturing employee population in the two county area.

The organizations determined three action areas, where they believed they could make an impact to improve the manufacturing talent pipeline.

Areas for improvement:

  • 1. A lack of interest in manufacturing is causing a shortage of skilled workers.
  • 2. Workers lack knowledge of industry.
  • 3. There needs to be a greater connection between industry and education.


  • 1. Organize manufacturing job opportunities public relations campaign.
  • 2. Increase internship and apprenticeship offerings.
  • 3. Improve coordination between industry, education, and government.

To learn about how you can help build a skilled manufacturing workforce for theregion, please contact:

Clay Gambetti, Research Manager