Indiana companies frustrated by lack of skilled workers

Steve Overton says he can't find enough skilled workers to fill his open positions.

Indiana companies say they aren't hiring and can't fill jobs because they can't find qualified workers.

Overton Industries can't find enough tool and dye makers, machine builders and engineers. Hiring is a huge problem for this small family business.

"We may interview ten people and out of those ten people, we don't have a hire so we continue to look," said Steve Overton, Overton Industries.

In the meantime, business continues to improve.

These are good-paying, highly skilled jobs that require years of training and experience. But even lower-paying, less skilled jobs are going unfilled.

Trucking companies can't find enough qualified drivers. Indiana's energy industry says the majority of applicants fail basic skills tests. There's even a shortage of forklift drivers - twenty openings Manpower can't fill because applicants fail drug and criminal history checks.

"I know there are people out there that are willing to work, that are hungry for work and want to. We need to find those individuals," said Ramona Schaefer, Manpower.

We found more than a few checking their unemployment benefits.

Todd Nix admits he needs more training.

"I don't want another Walmart or McJob. I want something to pay me the rest of my life," he said.

A surprising number of unemployed workers say they can't get to where the work is.

"Most of the jobs are moving to the outskirts of town. You don't have transportation, you can't get out there," said Travis Wilkerson.

It's a dilemma for unemployed workers and businesses trying to grow with the economy.

Overton figures it could do 15 percent more business if it could only find more workers.

"It is frustrating for the entire industry we are in," said Steve Overton.

The Franklin-based company and others like it are making extraordinary efforts to fill jobs. Overton has an apprentice program and pays for worker training.

A local trucking company says it's adding perks and benefits to keep drivers from jumping to another company.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits dropped last week, but is still higher than it has been in weeks. That's a sign that the job market is still struggling.

Weekly applications declined by 2,000 to 386,000.

Hiring slowed a bit in March after a fast start this year, with employers adding only 120,000 jobs. That's half the pace of the previous three months.

The IU Public Policy Institute says the answer lies in education. Read their study here.