It’s a new year and there’s no better time for an update in the form of a new job in manufacturing. Because of an ongoing skills gap, manufacturers are on the lookout for employees who are versed in the newest manufacturing skills. If you haven’t thought of a career in manufacturing before, know there are many positive changes worth considering.

To start, manufacturing is no longer considered a “dirty” industry with only low-wage jobs. Today’s manufacturing is on the cutting edge, applying high-skill applications and paying higher wages. Manufacturing now includes growing applications of automation, the use of robots and cobots (robots working with humans), artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and IoT, the Internet of Things.

New pairings of technology and innovation continue to move the industry forward as manufacturing draws on applications of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). As the skill sets for manufacturing grow more specialized, companies find themselves in re-evaluation mode, re-defining what manufacturing and its employment looks like today and what it could look like in the future.

In fact, Deloitte’s 2018 Skills Gap in Manufacturing Study predicts technology using STEM skills will continue to be a catalyst for the creation of more jobs in manufacturing. The study finding showed 2.4 positions will be filled between 2018 and 2028 with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion. As a result, manufacturers in Ohio and throughout the U.S. are looking for skilled employees who possess robust mechanical skills, are process-driven and productive and who thrive in an environment of teamwork.

Manufacturing Opportunities

If you’re still in school, start by exploring your options locally. A growing number of high schools are working with two-year and vocational schools to offer training in a variety of areas from machine tool building and welding to computer equipment programming skills. Those with a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) have a range of opportunities in 2- and 4-year colleges and universities as well as in post-graduate programs.

Those with prior military skills are also in demand. In response, there are a growing number of re-training opportunities where vets can re-tool their current skills into new applications as a welder, technician, machinist or analyst in the manufacturing industry. There are also manufacturers working directly with educational entities and the military to offer on-the-job opportunities, including special GI Bill programming designed to boost specific manufacturing skills.

When you’re ready to learn more about building a rewarding career in manufacturing, start your search by visiting some of the many manufacturing-based websites in your area. www.mfgday.com is a great place to look. This is the website of Manufacturing Day, a site dedicated to inspiring the next generation of manufacturers. Each October, the organization sponsors events and open houses throughout the U.S. and Canada demonstrating the new face of manufacturing. Meeting virtually or in-person can be a great way to learn more about the manufacturing industry and its many opportunities today and in the future.