OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A study by the Boston Consulting group finds that the U.S. manufacturing industry faces a serious skilled labor shortage. The new report says the shortage isn’t a big deal right now but it will balloon by the end of the decade from 80,000 to 100,000 to 875,000.

That’s why community colleges like Laney College in Oakland are teaching students skills like machining, mechanics and welding in its industrial technology classrooms.

“There’s a lot of opportunity and it’s just growing,” said student Ivan Ferris.

Ferris is in his second year of an industrial maintenance program, which could lead to a well paying job right out of school.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, the average high skilled U.S. manufacturing worker is 56 years old. These workers are expected to retire by the end of the decade.

Another reason why manufacturers can’t fill the jobs is that they are selective about who they hire. Employers are looking for experienced workers with good math skills.

Laney College just received a grant that will help train and place students with potential with local employers.

Ferris spent a summer interning with Dow Chemical and that has led to an internship with East Bay Municipal Utility District. Fellow student Andre Wollman is also interning at EBMUD. They hope the internships turn into full time, high paying jobs with starting p ay at about $30 an hour.

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