Evan Stall, the HR manager for Federal-Mogul Powertrain’s South Bend, Ind., plant, worries about how he will fill 13 foundry operator positions. The company, which makes automotive parts, primarily aluminum pistons, has just acquired another casting cell that contains the mold that robots fill with molten aluminum to make the pistons. Stall needs eight more workers to run the new machine in four 12-hour shifts. “The foundry operator is responsible for looking for defects and keeping [the machine] going,” Stall says. “I’m not looking for people with big muscles who can pump aluminum all day. I’m looking for people who possess problem-solving skills.” However, those individuals are increasingly hard to find—even in South Bend, which has a solid history of manufacturing that dates back to when the Studebaker brothers’ blacksmith shop was founded in 1852. In the manufacturing arena, recruiting employees is harder now than at any time during the past nine years, according to the Society for Human Resource Management's monthly Leading Indicators of National Employment reports.