I'm a Mechanical Engineer by training, but official title of Mechanical Engineering Manager. I have a model shop that is almost impossible to get a young machinist in to start their development. This is because as a country we have devalued the importance of the skill worker. However on the flipside of this, more people are going into plumbing and electrician training. The local vocational school got rid of most of the machining trades coursed (HVAC being their machining course).
I cannot tell you how heavily our R&D efforts rely on the skill & creativity of the people in my model shop.