Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe has it exactly right: Everyone laments the "outsourcing" of manufacturing jobs to other countries, but those same jobs are sneered at here in America. And employers are whining that they can't find anyone to fill the "skilled-labor" positions.
Add to that the fact that most employers require some kind of degree for even menial jobs, and it's no wonder that we can't fill our own manufacturing positions. It is really nothing more than the snobbery of those in hiring positions believing that the only people that deserve a position in their organization are those that have some kind of degree. Because - well - because they have a degree, which means that they are above the hoi polloi blue-collar worker. Being self-taught or having on-the-job training just isn't good enough for them.
Given that most post-secondary schools nowadays are nothing more than diploma mills that teach their students what to think, rather than how to think, it is a ridiculous assumption. I have over 6 years of post-secondary education, so I know whence I speak: People who should have been allowed to fail and quit the program were passed with high grades. Because if the warm bodies aren't in the seats, the institution doesn't get any money for them.
Most of the really clueless people in manufacturing today are the people who work on the other side of the wall from the factory...i.e. the "educated" people in the office. The sheer stupidity that I have encountered from them in my career has been mind-boggling.
Case in point: Employers complaining that they can't find anyone to fill skilled labor jobs...but requiring educational credentials to fill those jobs, no matter the other qualifications of the candidates. And they can't make the connection between those two simple things. I don't know where I first heard the term, but they have been called, "credentialed idiots".
I may be "just" a blue-collar grease-monkey, but I'll match wits with the best of them, anytime. I have the distinct advantage of 30 years living in the real world.