Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Campaign promotes careers in manufacturing sector
A survey of manufacturers found that 81 percent have unfilled positions.
By DON SHILLING
YOUNGSTOWN Billboards and advertisements promoting careers in manufacturing will start appearing in the Mahoning Valley next month.
They are part of a new campaign being launched by Cleveland-based Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network.
MAGNET kicked off the program locally Tuesday with a luncheon at Youngstown State University that was attended by about 30 officials from businesses and training programs.
MAGNET is out to stress in the yearlong campaign that most manufacturers are doing well and provide good-paying jobs and careers.
A 2005 survey by the National Association of Manufacturers found that 81 percent of respondents have unfilled positions because of a lack of qualified applicants.
Qualifications have changed
Mike Garvey, president of M-7 Technologies in Youngstown, attended the luncheon to offer his support for the effort.
He thinks young people need to realize that the qualifications for manufacturing jobs have changed greatly in the past 10 years. Jobs today are more technical and require a proficiency in math and science and disciplined thought, he said.
"We used to work with our hands. Future generations will be working more with their brains," he said.
M-7 makes and repairs steel mill equipment but has embarked on a new service using high-tech scanners to provide three-dimensional, digital images of buildings, objects or spaces.
Reid Dulberger, executive vice president of the Regional Chamber, said in his presentation that manufacturers frequently report problems in finding qualified workers. Problems are especially evident in attracting entry-level workers and keeping them for more than a few weeks, he said.
As older workers retire, the need for new workers will grow, he said.
If companies are unable to find workers, they will either move or set up a plant somewhere else, he said.
Aim to change image
Stephen Gage, MAGNET president, said the first objective of the "Dream It. Do It." campaign is to change the negative perception of manufacturing in the region.
"Manufacturing has had a gray cloud, even a black cloud, hanging over it for several decades," he said.
Most manufacturers are doing well, however, he said.
The campaign's advertising will feature these messages: "Make It ... Big." "Make It ... Your Passion." "Make It ... A Career."
Gage said the other objectives of the campaign are engaging young people to let them know about careers in manufacturing and invigorating manufacturers so they can find ways to promote their industry.
Gage said MAGNET will encourage manufacturers to attend events that attract students. MAGNET also will attend job and career fairs and promote internships.
MAGNET is conducting the same campaign throughout Northeast Ohio. "Dream It. Do It." was created by the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C., which is helping agencies create campaigns across the country.
Russell Hamm, a senior fellow at the association, said manufacturing continues to be the "bedrock of this economy."
The U.S. makes 25 percent of all manufactured goods in the world, and Japan is second at 22 percent, he said. Despite the growth in China, that nation makes only about 5 percent, he said.