Idaho needs to produce more technically adept workers for its $500 million gun and ammo manufacturing sector to expand.
The labor gap was the recurring theme of a Wednesday forum in Boise organized by the Idaho Firearm and Accessories Manufacturers' Association.
Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce, told 44 attendees at Boise State University that a representative of one Idaho manufacturer said the business would triple in size if it could hire more machinists and other laborers with the requisite skills.
"The firearms industry needs operators with these skills," Sayer said. "That's not happening. We need to fill that gap."I hear this from non-gun machining businesses here also -- that so few people graduate high school here with basic competence in algebra and trigonometry that they can't train them to be machinists. The comments, of course, are a laugh -- left-wing Idahoans either insisting that the real problem is that Republicans want everyone working at minimum wage (hint: machinists, especially CNC machinists, are well paid) or that they don't want those sort of businesses here.
Especially entertaining was the claim in the comments that the average IQ in Idaho is high 70s to low 80s. Yet, somehow, Idaho ranks fifth in the nation for patent issuance in the period 1977-2004, with almost twice the issuance rate of liberal states like Oregon, and still well ahead of California.