A Shortage of Vital Skills

America is running out of people who can do essential work

It is like stepping into an earlier age. The scene is the shop floor of the A & A Tool Co. in southern Connecticut, and the spectacle is of American precision craftsmanship tooling up for the 1980s. The vision is not an encouraging one. Jammed between noisy lathes and oily drill presses stand a dozen men, some far into middle age. Like acolytes of a dying devotion, they practice the art of machinemaking, using skills and techniques that have not changed much in...

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