Seeing Manufacturing Careers in a New Light


Fifty-five percent of Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing workforce is over the age of 45. This means that over half of the workforce will retire in the next 20 years, leaving the door open for thousands of young Northeast Ohioans to fill those jobs. While manufacturing has long been a cornerstone of Northeast Ohio’s economy, many people, especially those in middle and high school, are not aware of the various opportunities available in this field.

In fact, as of May 2015, there were over 2,700 manufacturing-related career opportunities open in Northeast Ohio. One of the biggest challenges many regional manufacturers face is finding skilled workers to fill these open positions. Additionally, as research from Team NEO shows, manufacturing is projected to grow by 25 percent by 2025, becoming a $53.3 billion industry. Findings like these show that the demand for new and young talent is real. The question then becomes: What are the benefits of entering the manufacturing workforce?

Benefits of Manufacturing Careers

There are many reasons why someone should choose a career in manufacturing. One reason being that average salaries for manufacturing jobs in Northeast Ohio are around $50,000. When looking at the manufacturing industry compared to other economic sectors, manufacturing wages in Northeast Ohio are higher than the state’s economy-wide average. The manufacturing industry also provides supplements and benefits packages valued on average at nearly $15,000.

In addition, the amount of money it takes to get an education in the manufacturing field is fairly reasonable. Did you know the average student in the U.S. incurs $30,000 in debt for college? The average cost for four years at a public university is $35,560, while community colleges average just under $3,300 per year totaling to just $6,600 for two years.

Although the misconception is that people don’t need to be educated to work in manufacturing, in reality, today’s industry is highly advanced. It’s not your grandfather’s manufacturing any more. Computers and robotics are beginning to rule the shop floors. Currently in Northeast Ohio, 19 percent of production job openings require an associate’s degree, while 13 percent require a bachelor’s degree.

Ohio is one of the largest manufacturing states in the country, and in order to keep that ranking, the industry needs help. It is estimated that there will be 49,000 job openings in production occupations over the next ten years, and with the majority of workers over the age of 45, the need for talent is apparent. With less than a quarter of production occupations filled by women, there is great opportunity for women and men alike to pursue careers in manufacturing.

To learn more about starting a career in manufacturing, click here.

Source: Cleveland Plus and Team NEO

These issues are important to Ashtabula County manufacturers as they work to attract and train the workforce of the future to keep their companies competitive.

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