Parents Underestimate Potential of These STEM Careers

by Denise Felder~

Employers and educators know that young people with interests and skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are likely to qualify for a wide range of high-paying careers.

For example, a Mechanical Drafter in Minnesota could earn $18 an hour to start. The median wage for Drafters with an Associate’s degree is almost $27 an hour.

Potential students and job seekers, however, often don’t know about the innovative work and high earning potential that manufacturing careers offer. And parents of potential students — who influence what their children study in college — have misconceptions about what it’s really like to work in manufacturing.

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Manufacturing Keeps on Truckin' in the Metro

by Tim O’Neill ~

Through 2013, the seven-county Twin Cities metro area had 79,133 establishments supplying 1,618,006 jobs. That’s approximately 60% of total employment in the state in all industries.

The manufacturing industry had 4,105 establishments supplying 162,716 jobs in the Twin Cities, comprising about 53% of the 307,159 manufacturing jobs within the state. The average annual wage for the manufacturing industry sector equaled $69,680 in 2013, 17% higher than the industry’s average annual wage for the state as a whole ($59,540).

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Manufacture a Career in the Southwest (Minnesota, that is)

by Luke Greiner~

When people think of the jobs that can be found in the manufacturing industry, they typically focus on a relatively short list of only production occupations, such as assemblers or welders.

This makes sense, as nearly 60% of all occupations in manufacturing are classified as “production” jobs in Southwest Minnesota. That means that over 40% (or 16,320 manufacturing occupations) are not. Instead, the manufacturing industry offers a diverse and well compensated mix of occupations.

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Manufacturing: The ‘Comeback Kid’ in Central Minnesota

by Luke Greiner ~

After getting knocked down during the recession, the manufacturing sector has added more jobs to Central Minnesota’s economy than any other industry since 2010 by gaining 3,676 additional jobs. This incredible comeback accounts for almost 30% of total job growth in the region in the last three years. Recent growth is also impressive, with more than one in five new jobs being in manufacturing from 2012 to 2013.

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Northwest Minnesota's 'Brain Drain' vs. 'Rural Renewal'

by Chet Bodin~

Much has been made about the loss to a local economy when young people leave a city, county, or region. This so-called “brain drain” is particularly hard for rural areas separated by distance and culture from the state’s major metropolitan areas. This concept is often based solely on the exodus of people from 15 to 29 years of age, who leave their hometowns or adopted homes for educational opportunities or career prospects unavailable or seldom found where they’re from, or to simply broaden their horizons.

What’s lost in that demographic shift is the counteractive in-migration of workers back into rural regions.  In what’s come to be known as “the rural renewal,” research has identified an increase in population cohorts aged 30 to 49 in most rural Minnesota counties, including in Northwest Minnesota.

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Industry Spotlight: Furniture Manufacturing

by Rachel Vilsack

Real estate agents say that a house feels more like a home when there is furniture in it, making it easier to sell. Central Minnesota is home to more than one-fourth of the state’s employment in furniture and related product manufacturing, including one-third of the state’s jobs in kitchen cabinet manufacturing.

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Hiring Difficulties in Minnesota’s Manufacturing Industry

by Alessia Leibert

Manufacturers face unprecedented challenges in filling skilled production positions, including competition from other firms, declining interest in manufacturing careers among young people, unattractive firm locations and work shifts, uncompetitive wages, and skills gaps. Minnesota employers are investing in solutions to remove some of these barriers, but hiring difficulties persist.

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Gearing Up for a Career in Manufacturing

 by Rachel Vilsack

If you think manufacturing is just production jobs, think again! Manufacturing in Minnesota also includes careers in engineering, logistics and distribution, maintenance and repair, and business, management and administration. Manufacturing facilities are often great places to work; they are clean, bright, and have amazing high-tech equipment.

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Job Vacancies Show Further Evidence of Labor Market Recovery

by Oriane Casale

Second quarter 2013 job vacancy survey results support other evidence –  job growth, falling unemployment and strong Gross Domestic Product growth, for example – that the labor market has finally recovered from the Great Recession. At 72,570, the number of Minnesota vacancies was higher than any time since 2001, and the ratio of unemployed to job openings was down to 2.1 unemployed per vacancy.  This matches the ratio during second quarter 2007, just before the economy fell into recession and the unemployment rate spiked at the same time that hiring dropped off.  This ratio rose as high as 8.2 unemployed per vacancy during fourth quarter 2009, the peak of the recession as far as job seekers in Minnesota were concerned.


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