There’s been a lot of talk about manufacturing jobs lately and boosting that dwindling industry has also been a talking point of both presidential candidates. According to the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, “New Jersey manufacturers employ nearly 338,200 people, plus 136,700 workers are employed by companies that supply and support manufacturers, nearly 13% of New Jersey’s private sector workforce.”
Last December I gave outplacement training to a manufacturing plant that was leaving the state after 57 years. Manufacturing is one of those industries that have become obsolete. A statistic from the Occupational Outlook handbook says that between now and 2018, manufacturing positions will decline 13%.
It also states that as workers adapt to team-oriented production methods, those who can operate multiple machines will have the best opportunities for advancement and for gaining jobs with more long-term potential. In other words - the odds aren’t very good unless you sharpen your skill set. Gone are the days when someone with a limited education or a specialized skill can make a decent living running a machine or making a part. Should someone in the manufacturing area leave the field for something else? Are there any reskilling trainings available? Here is what I suggest someone in the manufacturing field do:
1. Set up a game plan with goals and dates.
2. Assess your career values, motives, skills and transferable job skills.
3. Take advantage of any free career assessments offered. There are many online assessments available.
4. Find and use grants or low cost training/retaining.
5. Network with one another and with other networking groups (such as the Jersey Jobs Clubs via the Unemployment Office). You can also network with the manufacturing groups on LinkedIn.
There are a number of workforce training grants available that provide skilled training, education and a wide range of support to workers and employers. This summer New Jersey’s pilot “Fabricated Metal Product Training” program graduated ten students from a 12-week course preparing them for work in NJ’s metal product manufacturing industry. Of the ten, all received offers for employment. For information on the program, please visit the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development or talk to your local unemployment office.
There are a number of websites for manufacturing jobs. Some good ones are Manufacturing Jobs USA http://www.manufacturingjobs.com/home/home.cfm?site_id=105 and ManufacturingJobs.Org: http://manufacturingjobs.org/ and Jobs4Jersey.
For additional information about manufacturing in New Jersey, please visit New Jersey Next Stop.