Manufacturing is Not Necessarily a Dirty Job and Someone Will Be Paid Well to Do It
By: Steve Gratz
Manufacturing jobs in Ohio are going unfilled, and experts say the problem is projected to get worse.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, seven out of 10 Americans consider manufacturing a cornerstone of the economy, but only three in 10 want their children to go into manufacturing. Additionally, the National Association of Manufacturers predicts that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be created in the next 10 years, but more than 2 million of those will go unfilled.
October is Manufacturing Month and Oct. 5 was Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and combat the illusion that manufacturing careers are dirty, low-paid and don’t lead to advancement.
According to the MFG Day website, “Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.”
MFG DAY is a growing movement. It empowers individual manufacturers and creates a space for all manufacturers to come together. Collectively, they can address their shared challenges, improve their communities and create opportunities for future generations.
There are more than 200 events in Ohio in 2018. Although a majority of the events already have taken place, there are still several events scheduled throughout October. You can find events in your area here.
Manufacturing covers a wide gamut of occupations from assembler to engineer. Job search expert Alison Doyle shared in a recent post that, “Because manufacturing is such a broad field, there are many manufacturing job titles which encompass a variety of job descriptions. Manufacturing involves creating new products, either from raw materials or from pre-made components. Typical jobs might involve working on the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials to create these new products. Manufacturing plants and factories need more than just people who work on a production line, an efficient operation requires employees in numerous roles, including management and quality assurance.”
According to OhioMeansJobs, there are more than 18,000 jobs available in manufacturing. Of those jobs, 3,100 entry-level jobs pay less than $30,000; more than 4,000 are middle-income jobs that pay between $30K-$49K; more than 4,400 are upper middle-income jobs paying between $50,000-$79,000; nearly 3,300 are high-income manufacturing jobs paying between $80,000-$99,000; and more than 3,600 jobs pay more than $100,000 annually.
Districts and classroom teachers can expose students to careers in manufacturing. You can find numerous examples on the MFG website. Additionally, teachers can utilize guidance on integrated coursework to learn how to integrate real-world manufacturing examples into their lessons.
There are many opportunities for educators to highlight manufacturing careers for students. This would be a great conversation for school leaders to have with their Business Advisory Councils. Furthermore, districts can build relationships with industry leaders and begin the conversation about providing students with work-based learning opportunities. Implemented properly, work-based learning can provide students with authentic experience and credits that count toward graduation.
If your district participated or plans to participate in activities during Manufacturing Month, please share your experiences in the comments below.
Dr. Steve Gratz is senior executive director of the Center for Student Support and Education Options at the Ohio Department of Education, where he oversees creative ways to help students in Ohio achieve success in school. You can learn more about Steve by clicking here.