PEKIN, Ill. -- In Galesburg on Wednesday, President Obama stressed the need for global competition as a way to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
One company CEO said education is a critical investment.
Doug Parsons with Excel Foundry and Machine in Pekin said there is a shortage of qualified skilled workers.
According to Parsons, that shortage could turn into a crisis in the next five to 10 years as more manufacturers upgrade equipment.
He said it will take the combined effort of the public and private sector to provide the necessary training and increase awareness of manufacturing careers.
Excel is working to close the gap through the Focus Forward Central Illinois initiative.
"We're actually putting equipment into the schools, actually making the contributions on behalf of the employer in order to get the training that's required done," said Parsons. "We know schools are strapped for cash, they can't afford it. So anything we can do as a community or as an employer to help facilitate the training we're going to need as we grow and the demand grows, that's a positive."
Parsons also challenged the President and Congress to create more incentives for business owners who make investments to grow their business in the U.S.
President Obama did say Wednesday he plans to make sure the tax code does just that.
He has also asked Congress to start a Community College to Career initiative, so workers can learn high-tech skills without leaving their hometown.