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Watchmaking in Detroit. Photo: Eff Kowalsky / AFP / Getty

Companies that have been critically short of skilled workers must themselves move to establish training programs to fill the jobs, says Jay Timmons, head of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Quick take: With unemployment at a decades-long low of 4.1% and drifting lower, American manufacturers currently have some 364,000 vacancies, and will need to fill some 3.5 million jobs by 2025, Timmons tells Axios. But 2 million of them may go unfilled because of the country's chronic skills shortage.

Until now, American companies have seemed to be largely waiting for workers themselves to obtain the right skills on their own in college, vocational schools, or prior jobs. But that hasn't worked, and Timmons, who will be speaking this morning in Troy, Michigan, is telling companies that they need to be pro-active in terms of worker training. "The jobs are fillable," Timmons said. "The key is that it's up to the business community to provide training necessary for these jobs."

  • Long searches: It can take 70 days to hire a technician and 90 days for an engineer, Timmons said.
  • Key problem—a stigma: Timmons said companies must battle a "misperception" among young people that manufacturing jobs are "dirty, dark and dangerous." He said modern manufacturing is "sleek and technology driven."

Carolyn Lee, head of NAM's Manufacturing Institute, said that unlike the construction trade, manufacturers have not established routine apprenticeship programs that feed workers into companies. "They are the model for manufacturing," she said.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”