Manufacturing Careers: The Future is Bright

In Virginia and across the U.S., the manufacturing industry is growing. Thanks to technological innovations and increased demand for products developed stateside, experts are predicting a major influx of job openings—to the tune of millions of anticipated manufacturing job openings over the next decade.

Manufacturing Day, celebrated on the first Friday in October, promotes opportunities for those interested in a manufacturing career. On this day, Employers and programs share information about webinars and educational events that help students, women, veterans, and workers launch or advance in a manufacturing career.

Education, Training, and Professional Development

As the industry evolves and demand grows, programs are rising to meet the occasion with efficient and accessible education and training opportunities. Changes in the education landscape have prompted programs and institutions to rethink the limitation of four-year degrees as the go-to plan after high school. Offerings from certificate programs to community colleges have earned deep respect within the manufacturing space and are viable, cost-effective ways to enter the workforce instead of entering a four-year institution.

Opportunities for Employees With a High School Degree

Employers including AdvantaStaff hire for a range of positions that require only a high school degree. Jobs include:

  • Picking/packing
  • Entry-level machine operator
  • Forklift operator
  • Inspector
  • Quality control
  • Assembly

Skills that help high school graduates succeed in these jobs include the following:

  • Basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication)
  • Reading
  • Sorting numbers chronologically/words alphabetically
  • Reading instructions
  • Identifying defects
  • Basic computer operations

AdvantaStaff partners with employers to provide state-of-the-art training. Most manufacturers offer excellent opportunities for on-the-job training and/or formal training, including for advancement in supervisory and managerial roles.

High school students and graduates interested in learning more can find out about employment and training opportunities through their guidance counselors, at local job fairs, or by contacting AdvantaStaff Account Manager Rami Shabazz at rami.shabazz@advantastaff.com.

Certificate and Degree Programs

AdvantaStaff works with companies to fill a wide range of positions. A degree or certificate demonstrates to AdvantaStaff that a candidate has knowledge that translates directly to the job, lessening the learning curve.

Community colleges such as Brightpoint Community College in Chester, Virginia, offer options such as:

  • Short-term certificate programs in areas like precision machining technology and welding
  • Career studies certificates such as industrial maintenance that can be achieved in one year to four semesters
  • Affordable two-year Associate Degree programs in related fields such as mechanical engineering technology

The Community College Workforce Alliance works with Virginia’s Community Colleges, specifically Reynolds Community College and Brightpoint Community College, to offer hybrid (online and in-person) non-credit trainings in skilled trade-related fields.

In certain cases, if an employee can show that they have skills in a particular area, we can place them in a position that usually requires more formal education. Examples include machine operator, quality control, inspector, or safety compliance clerk.

Trade Schools for Specialization

Trade schools focus on particular careers, homing in on the specific skills needed. They tend to cost more than community college, but they provide a great deal of practical, hands-on training that leaves students well prepared for a real-world job. Centura College in Springfield, VA, offers 12-month Skilled Trades Programs for careers in areas such as combination welding and carpentry.

Other areas of study in trade school include HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. Trade positions are well paid and in high demand, with some employers willing to pay tuition or reimburse costs.

Strong Long-Term Prospects

The outlook for manufacturing careers remains bright, and prospects for advancing in a profession are strong. If an employee is eager, committed, and willing to learn, then there are great prospects for a lucrative and long-term career in manufacturing.

Many companies have valued general managers, plant managers, and managers and supervisors who oversee processes, people, and/or entire operations — without a traditional four-year college degree. A willingness to learn and commitment to personal growth and development go a long way in building a successful manufacturing career and are key qualities for students interested in Manufacturing Day to set themselves apart.

Do you want to learn more about specific job opportunities? Whether you are new to manufacturing or highly experienced, AdvantaStaff hires for positions of every skill level and type.

Are you an employer looking to add employees? Contact JT Wauford at jt.wauford@advantastaff.com