On Wednesday, February 26, approximately 200 students from five different schools settled into their seats at the Elkhorn Area High School auditorium to listen to four experts and one of their own peers address the career opportunities in the manufacturing industry.
Brian White, President of Waukesha Engine; Hanan Fishman, President of PartMaker, Inc, (a software development company); Mary Isbister, President of GenMet, Mequon (metal fabricator); Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus; and senior, Brad Pearson, (manufacturing apprentice) shared their insights on opportunities the world of manufacturing offers.
According to all four speakers, there is a huge deficit in the number of young people applying for jobs in manufacturing.
Currently, the industry is looking for people skilled in
- Design Engineering,
- Manufacturing Engineering,
- CNC Programmers,
- Machine Maintenance.
White mentioned that top machinists can earn up to $80,000 per year and that every manufacturing job generates four other jobs in other sectors such as health, IT, finance, etc.
Both White and Reader stressed to students to make certain that they are
- Preparing for a career, not just for college;
- To make sure that their advanced education can help them secure a job,
- And to prepare themselves for life-long learning.
They cited the fact that 70% of manufacturing jobs will require education beyond the high school diploma. Fishman backed up this fact by stating that what goes on in manufacturing today has a lot more to do with what goes on above the neck than below. Isbister reminded students that when hiring she looks for highly driven and ambitious job candidates; those who are committed to their jobs. She, along with the Reader, White, and Fishman stressed the importance of soft skills—reliability, communication skills, collaboration, self-motivation, positive attitude, and a willingness to learn.
Senior apprentice, Brad Pearson, spoke of his experience at Precision Plus and his appreciation for the opportunities he has been given by his mentor to learn all aspects of precision-turned component manufacturing
Our PMPA member shops, like Precision Plus, are leading the charge to change the conversation about careers in manufacturing. What about you?