Happy Manufacturing Day! The first Friday of October is nationally celebrated as MFG Day and, in Illinois, the kick-off to MFG Month! Manufacturing Month is the chance for us to celebrate and highlight the manufacturing industry’s many contributions to the state and nation. It is also an opportunity to build excitement about careers in manufacturing, particularly for the newest generation entering the workforce. Manufacturing is no longer the dark, dirty, dangerous work of the past that so many envision. Advanced manufacturing is clean, diverse, high tech, and sustainable and Manufacturing Month is a chance to showcase what today’s manufacturing looks like.
The manufacturing jobs of today are careers for the future that provide over $74,000 in average annual wages. Illinois manufacturers directly employ more than 662,000 men and women on factory floors earning an average wage of more than $79,400. Ninety-two percent of manufacturing employees get employer sponsored health care. The Illinois manufacturing industry alone supports of $580 billion in annual economic impact, according to the IMA’s 2022 Manufacturing Matters publication, and our industry is Illinois’ largest sector among the fastest growing here in our state.
Manufacturing Month is also a time for us to take stock of the challenges facing the manufacturing industry and to get creative about ways we can solve those challenges. For manufacturers, we hear time and time again that their biggest challenge is finding qualified workers.
There are currently 800,000 open manufacturing jobs nationwide. But that figure is expected to grow if we don’t take action. Over the next decade, it is estimated that 300,000 men and women will leave the industry as baby boomers begin to retire. If we don’t fill those jobs, employers won’t be able to expand operations to meet increased demand effectively stifling growth and ultimately hurting our communities and hindering our economy.
Looking for ways to participate in MFG Month? The IMA Education Foundation is collecting short videos (90 seconds) to highlight employees and products found in Illinois manufacturing plants. Send your cellphone vides to Sarah Hartwick at firstname.lastname@example.org today to have it featured on the IMA Education Foundation webpage and shared with students enrolled in CTE courses across our state.