Man Measuring Automotive Tire Wheel Rim

MARYS — Ask auto industry analyst Kristin Dziczech with the Center for Automotive Research in Detroit where the biggest skills gap is as Baby Boomers retire, and she’s quick to answer: tool and die.

“It’s one of the most critical talent needs,” she said. “The share of those workers under the age of 35 is 2 percent. Roughly 40 percent of tool and die are currently eligible, or will be eligible, to retire in the next five to 10 years.”

She added, “Without tool and die, we don’t have an industry.”

There isn’t a training program or college degree called “tool and die.” The term encompasses all the skilled trades necessary to shape or mold or stamp something: millwrights, electricians, screw machine operators, plumbers and pipefitters. More and more, automakers and other manufacturers are looking for people who are familiar with all of these skills not only to build these machines but to maintain them.

Read more: Tool and die in demand in auto plants