Furniture manufacturing is not dead.

That’s the message Joyce Rice is spreading. She’s a business services consultant with GuilfordWorks, a workforce development board that connects employers with job seekers.

Local furniture manufacturers — like many other industries — are struggling to find workers to make their products.

Last week Rice led an information session about the local labor shortage in the furniture industry. She says companies are finding it hard to develop a pipeline of talent.

“These are jobs that take a high level of skill, which would also come with a high level of value," she says. "So if you apply for one of these jobs, these manufacturers are prepared to train you, develop you, give you the hands-on skills and training that you need.”

Among the possible solutions that emerged from the discussion was reaching out to students in Guilford County high schools and at Guilford Technical Community College which, among other things, offers an apprenticeship program that works with area manufacturers.

Rice says companies are also developing succession plans so that when senior workers retire or leave, there’s a talent pool the industry can tap to fill those positions.

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