This month, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers (KAM) is celebrating Manufacturing Month, so it’s a good time to talk about what’s happening in manufacturing. It’s no secret we have a great partnership with the state’s manufacturers. This partnership is really very simple: Manufacturers need skilled workers, and we want to supply them. Together, this partnership is helping Kentuckians earn a good living, helping employers hire the right workers and helping the state’s economy grow.
An important point our students and prospective students need to understand is today’s manufacturing is not your grandfather’s, or even your father’s, manufacturing. Factories today are bright, clean and technologically advanced. They are full of people who’ve earned college credentials, because that’s what today’s jobs require.
In Kentucky, more than 213,000 employees are working in manufacturing, and many of these companies have jobs available for people with the right training and skills. A challenge businesses are facing, however, is that there aren’t enough qualified workers in Kentucky.
And here’s something else our students should know. There are going to be even more jobs available in manufacturing. A recent national report shows that American manufacturers could need as many as two million workers over the next 10 years. There are two main reasons for this. First, there’s been a rebirth of manufacturing so the industry is expanding. Second, is the retirement of the Baby Boomers.
Manufacturing jobs pay well for those who meet the qualifications. Just two years ago, a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers showed the average manufacturing worker earned $77,506 in total pay and benefits. That’s more than some grads from four-year universities will earn.
Many of our students enter college without having chosen a major. If you’re one of them, Manufacturing Month is a good time to look into whether a career in manufacturing is right for you. All of our colleges have excellent programs for those who want to earn an associate degree, certificates or diplomas. Some colleges are having open houses this month to celebrate Manufacturing Month.
If you think a manufacturing job sounds like something you’d like, talk to an advisor and see what these careers can offer you. Before you know it, you’ll be earning a good salary in a fast growing field.