Skills gap not a new problem for state’s industries

“[An] obstacle to establishing large manufacturing projects during the [Revolutionary War] was the scarcity of labor…. Because the existing manufacturing base was so small, relatively few Americans had the needed skills.

“This was particularly true away from the large cities. When North Carolina’s revolutionary government attempted to set up iron works, it had enormous difficulty, despite offering generous bounties to anyone who produced good iron and even sending a labor agent to Philadelphia to convince workers to move south. The agent reported back that ‘such is the demand for workmen in every branch of the iron manufactory and the wages so very extravagantly high that men who have any pretension to skill in the business cannot be prevailed upon to leave home.’ ”

— From Manufacturing Revolution: The Intellectual Origins of Early American Industry” by Lawrence A. Peskin (2010)


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