One of the hottest manufacturing headlines is hands-down the conversation about the lack of push and support of manufacturing and skilled trades in elementary and high schools. As the cost of college skyrockets and the world feels indebted to manufacturers for their unending efforts during the 2020 global pandemic, more and more people are elevating manufacturing and skilled trades to the level of respect they deserve.
Manufacturing Offers Careers, Not Just Jobs
2021 started strong on the manufacturing front with a piece entitled 5 Reasons to Start a Career in Manufacturing, and the reasons are spot-on:
- “Manufacturing jobs offer a ton of entry-level opportunities.”
- “You can actually see the result of your hard work.”
- “There’s a lot of money to be made in manufacturing.”
- “Working in manufacturing keeps you active.”
- “Manufacturing jobs offer several avenues for growth and development.”
The question to ask now is whether or not schools relay the above reasons for entering manufacturing to their students. Do all students who graduate from high school truly know what manufacturing and skilled trades jobs look like, or is their only exposure to them through a history textbook, movie, or random flyer that’s thumbtacked to a crowded school bulletin board?
Manufacturing: The Truth is in the Stats
According to Salary.com, manufacturing jobs range in salary from $31,451 to $277,846. According to Census.gov, “manufacturing is the fifth-largest employer.” EPSNews.com shares that “Deloitte calculates 4.6 million job openings in the [manufacturing] sector from 2018-2028 and predicts that only 2.2 million of those will be filled.” ContractorMag.com reports that a survey “revealed that 21% of students who would not consider a career in the skilled trades said it’s because they don’t know enough about it. And 15% of students would not consider a career in the skilled trades because they don’t believe there is a lot of opportunity.”
The previous statistics prove that manufacturing is a powerhouse that isn’t going anywhere and deserves and needs to be equally represented as valid and valuable post-high school options. Manufacturing and skilled trades aren’t asking schools to present them as the only or best option; they’re asking schools to present them as they do other post-high school opportunities.
Suppose a school hosts a college or a college-geared presentation x-number of times. In that case, that school should host the same number of opportunities dedicated toward learning about manufacturing and skilled trades. Equal representation, equal time in the spotlight, and equal sharing of knowledge and opportunity are all the manufacturing and skilled trades arenas are asking from schools… and it’s time for more schools to do just that.