Post-graduation and the world is filled with opportunities. Depending on that’s next, this might include a summer working or an extended vacation before deciding what’s next, whether that’s attending a junior college or university, signing up for specialized training at a vocational school or entering the armed forces.

What you might not realize is that each of those options could also be a path leading toward a career in manufacturing. A two-year trade or vocational school could provide opportunities to learn machine tool building, welding and computer equipment programming skills. A university path could supply further advancement toward the critical science and math skills necessary for an engineering degree. Or, military enlistment could translate into a position as a technician, welder, machinist or analyst.

Over the last decade, manufacturing has undergone many beneficial changes that make it the perfect launch for new graduates to grow within the industry. Depending on your current skill level and plans for future training, options in the manufacturing world could include employment as a machinist, mechanic, or an industrial or mechanical engineer to name a few.

Build the Skills

One aspect that makes a career path in manufacturing so appealing is the sheer number of options in a range of industries. Manufacturing in Ohio for example, offers jobs in electrical equipment and appliances, aerospace, transportation, plastics, machinery, fabricated metal products, food and beverage, tobacco, motor vehicles, chemicals, and petroleum and coal. Here manufacturers account for 17.77 percent of the total output in the state and employ 12.5 percent of the workforce, according to the Center for Manufacturing Research.

Bridging the SkillsGap

Qualified individuals are even more important in the industry when you consider the accelerated need for candidates with the right skills. A so-called skills gap means that there currently aren’t enough people with the right skills for the growing number of manufacturing jobs. Needed skills include science and math as well as an inherent skill for mechanics and a natural curiosity for how things work. This includes advanced job skills such as the operation of 3D manufacturing equipment and complex machinery. Throughout the industry, former low-wage jobs are now being replaced by high-skilled jobs earning higher wages.

Growth from Within

One of the many benefits of a job in the manufacturing industry is the opportunity for ongoing learning such as on-the-job training and in some cases tuition reimbursement. The ability to earn higher-education credit while working full-time creates an option for career advancement with more responsibility and higher earnings.

If you’re ready to learn more about a career in manufacturing, visit manufacturing-based websites in your area and attend trade fairs and open houses to inquire about apprenticeship programs. Meeting individuals in these areas offers opportunities to learn more about the industry, the products created and options for cross-training and possible tuition reimbursement.

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