In our last blog, we discussed the manufacturing industry’s skilled labor shortage—the fact that 600,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled, while the majority of manufacturing companies report a major shortage of workers, and expect it to get worse.
While manufacturing in America is a source of great pride, great innovation, and great careers, not enough people have the skills companies need. These manufacturers make high quality goods while contributing trillions of dollars to our economy, and they’re continuously in need of workers to keep it all going.
At the same time, the industry offers some of the most rewarding careers available; last year, the average American manufacturing worker earned $77,506.
So it stands to reason that if more Americans become prepared to seek careers in manufacturing, they will serve a twofold purpose: they will find lucrative, stable jobs in a thriving high-tech industry, and they will help contribute to the growth and prosperity of our country while combating the labor shortage.
So what can high school students do now to prepare themselves for fulfilling careers in the future? They can start with these five practices:
1) Get STEM-educated: Devote time and energy to science, technology, math, and engineering, which will give you the skills necessary for a manufacturing career. These are skills that can be developed in high school, and nurtured even further in colleges and trade schools. There are plenty of schools in the area to help further develop the skills required to become an expert engineer. Take it from Tim Longenecker, a graduate from Thaddeus Stevens College and one of our expert CNC machinists:
2) Learn critical thinking: Thinking quickly and logically—making confident decisions while thinking on your feet—are important in manufacturing, and having these skills will put you ahead of the competition.
3) Team work: Manufacturers need team players, so having the experience and ability to work well with others will put you at an advantage.
4) Be dependable: Show up to school on time, and practice perfect attendance. Getting in the habit now will make you a good worker later.
5) Problem solving: Being able to quickly identify and solve a problem, while communicating this well with others, is critical in manufacturing. Practice this through problem solving exercises, constructive debate, and homework that hones problem solving skills.
By preparing now for an exciting manufacturing career later, the benefits to young individuals and our country as a whole can be incalculable.