Carolyn Lee and Beatriz Landa: Georgia’s Creators Wanted for “New-Collar” Manufacturing Opportunities

Carolyn Lee and Beatriz Landa

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

Manufacturing is the foundation of America’s democracy. Through two world wars and multiple industrial revolutions, this is the industry that has built, supported and defended our nation and its prosperity for decades. All along the way, manufacturing has provided millions with well-paying careers and the chance to build a good life. Today, modern manufacturing continues to provide high-pay opportunities for millions—and millions more are needed to join. This is the message The Manufacturing Institute, the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, will bring to an exciting event at Atlanta-headquartered Novelis, the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum at its recycling facility in Greensboro today as part of MFG Day.

MFG Day, which kicks off this Friday and runs throughout October, is an annual Manufacturing Institute–led campaign where thousands of manufacturers open their doors nationwide to show the reality of modern manufacturing to students, teachers and neighbors. A great example is the event that Novelis will host in Greensboro to showcase jobs in aluminum recycling, demonstrate the role aluminum plays in the most popular vehicles and reveal virtual reality technology used to keep employees safe.

The purpose of MFG Day is simple—too many Americans have an outdated perception about manufacturing. Modern manufacturers have well-paying careers that allow them to create the future using cutting-edge technology. The average annual compensation for a manufacturing worker in Georgia is nearly $70,000 compared to less than $50,000 across all industries. Unfortunately, despite the high-paying, high-skilled highly in-demand jobs out there, too many manufacturing positions remain unfilled because not enough workers and students have the right skills to fill them. This is a part of a nationwide workforce crisis. In fact, there are more than half a million jobs open in manufacturing, and our industry will need to fill 4.6 million by 2028.

That’s why, on MFG Day, thousands of manufacturers and educational institutions nationwide will open their doors, providing young people a firsthand look at what 21st-century manufacturing really looks like—the technology, the problem solving, the innovation and the collaboration that goes into improving people’s lives around the globe.

In Georgia alone, more than 400,000 hardworking women and men are advancing aerospace and automotive technologies, lifesaving pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics and appliances and more. All told, 6,600 local manufacturers across dozens of fields contribute more than 11 percent of the state’s economic output.

Novelis, for instance, employs nearly 750 talented, innovative and hardworking people in Atlanta, Kennesaw and Greensboro who are focused on realizing the company’s purpose, Shaping a Sustainable World Together.

Raising awareness for the many opportunities in manufacturing is only a first step. We must also empower Georgia’s students to develop science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. At a time when student debt holds back too many young adults, manufacturing provides many opportunities—and, often, this can be achieved without a traditional four-year degree or the debt that comes with it.

Our country’s future is tied to the continued success of the manufacturing industry, and manufacturing’s success will be determined, as it always has, by its next generation of leaders. That’s why on MFG Day, we are putting the country on notice—Creators Wanted.