By Blake Musser
October 10, 2017
On Oct. 20, students from Dakota, Durand, Freeport, Lena, Orangeville, Pearl City and Pecatonica will have the opportunity to participate in a full day of activities to bring awareness to the opportunities in manufacturing in our area. This will be the fourth year of collaboration between CareerTec, the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Highland, NIDA and the local high schools to plan and host our own Manufacturing Day.
The day will be filled with tours, guest speakers, an expo and several other highlights. All activities are geared towards the students to help them understand the career opportunities in manufacturing, especially those here in our community.
We have a growing and thriving manufacturing sector in our community. The challenge that our businesses face is getting talented individuals to fill the positions they have available. Often, when we think of manufacturing, we think of how it was in the Industrial Revolution. However, that’s not what manufacturing is today. Now, manufacturing uses technology and robotics — it’s clean, safe and innovative. Having a Manufacturing Day is one of the tactics being used to help shed light on the many great manufacturing career opportunities.
While there is a lot of talk about manufacturing jobs moving overseas, many companies have stayed and will continue to stay in the U.S. There are several in our own community that are limited in their growth due to their lack of employees. Many manufacturing environments include highly trained well-paid employees who work on the state of the art equipment.
It is estimated that, nationally, there will be 2.5 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2025. This is a significant concern for our local and national economy. As I wrote about a few months ago, there are currently several hundred open positions in manufacturing in Stephenson County. The food-manufacturing job fair in August was very successful. Even though one in four of the candidates were offered jobs, there are still many positions available at those companies and at other manufacturers in our community.
For any student or parent of a student in our community’s high schools, I hope you take the opportunity to attend the Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing offers many diverse career opportunities. From production to product engineering and other supportive roles from communications to purchasing, there are countless career options across all levels of education.
For more information about our community, please visit: freeport-all-in.com.