Ben Venue having trouble filling jobs at Ohio plant

Although the pharma industry has eliminated 35,000 jobs so far this year, drugmakers are having a tough time finding the manufacturing help they need. Many of the layoffs have been in sales and even R&D, no doubt. But there must be more manufacturing talent available than Ben Venue Labs has been able to find for its plant outside Cleveland.

Eye-strained supervisors hired just 47 employees at $13 to $15 an hour after reviewing 3,600 job applications this year, reports the New York Times. The CMO continues its efforts to fill 100 slots.

Aptitude is beginning to trump manufacturing experience: The company has found half of its recent hires outside the drug manufacturing worker pool. One example is an Army vet laid off from a filing position at a law office. His position at Ben Venue required several months' training on freeze dryer operation.

Manufacturers in general--drugmakers included--have retooled and revamped. They need more highly skilled employees than they did in the past. Tomorrow's manufacturing worker is currently "in about the sixth grade," says the executive director for an advanced manufacturing program.

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