Too few of our nation’s young people are considering careers in manufacturing today. This is a shame. Manufacturing is a growing sector of our economy that offers good jobs that pay well. Right now, over 12.2 million Americans work in manufacturing and more of these jobs are being created every year. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, manufacturing employers have added 700,000 jobs to the US economy since 2010, at a rate of about 12,000 jobs a month. Those numbers are projected to keep growing in the future. And manufacturing jobs pay more than many other fields of work. On average, manufacturing workers earn over 20% more than employees in similar sectors, and in some fields they earn more than four times the minimum wage.
Outdated notions about factory work may be part of the reason why so many high school graduates turn away from manufacturing. Young people may think these jobs are boring, dirty, or only for unskilled laborers. These old stereotypes simply aren’t true. In fact, many of today’s manufacturing jobs are challenging, clean, and require the skills to use cutting-edge computer software and robotics.
College is Not the Only Path to Career Success
Many students think that they must go straight to college after high school and earn a four-year degree. That is not the only way to build a good career. A high school graduate is eligible for many entry-level manufacturing positions including assembly jobs or machine operator jobs. These jobs pay good wages and offer resume building work experiences that can lead to career advancement in the future.
When students choose to join the workforce after graduating from high school, instead of immediately going to college, they can earn money while avoiding student loans. According to the U.S. Department of Education, college students in the U.S. graduate with an average of $26,830 of student loan debt today. Taking on that much debt can be risky. Undergraduate degrees do not guarantee good jobs after graduation. Unemployment rates among recent college graduates are estimated to be about 8.5 percent. It is also estimated that over 40% of recent college graduates end up working in jobs that do not require a college degree.
How Manufacturing Jobs Can Help You Graduate Debt Free
Let’s say you begin working full time in an entry-level manufacturing job right after your high school graduation. Four years later, instead of finding yourself with a bachelor’s degree and $33,000 in debt (2014 average), you would have earned gross wages totaling between $75,000 and $100,000 (or more or less, depending on the type and amount of work you did). If you attended Community College while working those 4 years you could be earning tens of thousands more.
You can still pursue your educational goals while working. We have helped many young people put themselves through school by placing them in good manufacturing jobs that they could do in the evenings, while they took classes during the day. This path will allow you to graduate debt-free, with money in the bank and job experience on your resume.
Good Jobs Done Well Make all the Difference in Life
For most of us, the true satisfaction from work comes from doing what we do well. Manufacturing jobs can help you develop skills and interests you may not even know you have yet. And you can earn good money while building a satisfying career. At Friday Services, we’ve been putting people to work in manufacturing jobs in Western North Carolina for 34 years now. We are proud of the work we do because we’ve seen the difference good jobs can make in people’s lives.