Believe it or not, a shortage of skilled workers is a hidden risk to 3-D printing companies 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) and Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS). After all, the 3-D printing industry has been growing like gangbusters, and now it's coming to a point where there aren't enough skilled individuals to fill numerous job openings across the industry. To compensate for this shortfall, 3D Systems and Stratasys have been making acquisitions in order to secure the necessary talent to meet their respective growth initiatives.

Recently, 3D Systems acquired Robtec, a leading Latin American 3-D printing service provider, and Stratasys purchased Solid Concepts, a leading North American 3-D printing service provider. These moves underscore the need to secure 3-D printing expertise, especially around operating a fleet of 3-D printers.

In the following video, 3-D printing specialist asks Kevin Ayers, industry manager at SME, what he's seeing in terms of labor force conditions. Going forward, 3D Systems and Stratasys investors should be aware that if labor conditions continue to tighten in the years ahead, it may act as a headwind to future growth initiatives. Ultimately, it's widely expected that education around 3-D printing will improve, which will therefore improve labor force conditions.

Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems and Apple. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems, Apple, and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems, Apple, and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.