Today is National Manufacturing Day, and Aerotek, a leading provider of industrial staffing services, has released its second annual list of opportunities in manufacturing.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported softening in the U.S. manufacturing sector for many years, Aerotek says the demand for manufacturing talent is still critical.

Aerotek says the top states for manufacturing employment are California, Texas, Indiana, Michigan and Iowa.  It also says the skillsets with the highest number of open positions are general production worker (43,1000), light industrial assembler (19,648), machine operator (6,050), maintenance tech/mechanics (5,465) and welder (3,818). All of those skills are used in the manufacture of fenestration products.

According to Sara Staggs, director of divisional operations for Aerotek’s Commercial Division, the slower growth is in response to market forces including the global economic downturn outside the U.S., a strong dollar and increasing competition from companies abroad.

“Finding talent is still one of the greatest challenges for manufacturing today,” she said. “Machinists, production workers and assemblers are among the top occupations in demand, while workers with skilled trade backgrounds such as welding and machining are also in high demand.”

This talent need is driven primarily by the rate of retirement and the reduction in supply of new workers entering the industry. Approximately 2.7 million workers will retire from the manufacturing industry in the next decade or so, according to a 2015 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, and they’re not easily replaced.

The manufacturing industry has continued to evolve by relying more heavily on the operation, maintenance and programming of high-tech machines, and shifting away from outdated stigmas about manufacturing is critical to attract talent. Millennials, who are accustomed to using high-tech devices, have great potential to embrace the increasingly sophisticated world of skilled trades.

Many organizations and states are taking actions to ensure the next generation of manufacturing is equipped with the necessary skills and training, and many companies and recruiting firms have started to form partnerships with schools to boost the pipeline of talent entering the industry.

“Reaching out to millennials in a targeted approach can help change misperceptions that keep them from entering the skilled trade workforce,” said Staggs. “We’re actively working to update manufacturing’s image by partnering with trade and vocational schools to highlight the impressive career opportunities in manufacturing.”

To find out more information on National Manufacturing Day, visit the official website at www.mfgday.com.

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