On October 2nd, manufacturers across the US celebrated Manufacturing Day, also known as MFG Day, which was created in 2012 to address misconceptions about manufacturing and increase awareness about this vital American industry. The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the invitation-only “Made in Central Mass: Manufacturing Matters” discussion panel to raise awareness about the widening skills gap in the Massachusetts manufacturing sector. Our president, Bill DiBenedetto, was one of three guest speakers at the panel who presented their perspectives to a room of local educators.
Student Employment at Lampin Provides Manufacturing Career Opportunities
Lampin Corporation is committed to finding solutions to the skills-gap problem. Our student-employee program currently works with ten high schools in the Blackstone Valley area, as well as Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, to find young individuals who have the skills and aptitudes required to excel at a career in manufacturing, and to give them the opportunity to begin working. Two of our student-employees attended the discussion panel with Mr. DiBenedetto, and they had plenty of positive things to say about joining the team of employee-owners at Lampin.
“On my first day they had me on a machine,” said Dave, a student-employee for the last two years, “It showed me that Lampin recognizes that even students without specific technical knowledge can be trained.”
“I was considering a career in civil engineering before I began working at Lampin,” said Jonathan, a student-employee who joined Lampin this summer, “Now, I believe I would enjoy working in mechanical engineering more.”
An Advanced Industry in Need of a New Reputation
The emerging skills gap is a significant concern for manufacturers in Massachusetts. The decline of vocational training in high schools has created a void of available skilled workers. Vocational schools and the jobs for which they prepare students are often stigmatized as dirty, dead-end or lower-class. Many of the educators at the discussion panel commented that this negative perception of manufacturing careers by vocational students and their parents often prevented students from considering machinist positions.
Guest speaker Leslie Parady, the workforce development manager at MassMEP, works with local educational institutions such as WPI and Quinsigamond Community College to help interested students develop the advanced skills necessary to enter the manufacturing workforce, such as operating computer numerical control (CNC) machinery. The manufacturing industry is prevalent in Massachusetts and many of the industry’s open positions can be attained through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and vocational programs at inexpensive community colleges. At a time when many young people are struggling to find careers that don’t require hundreds of thousands of dollars of education with high debt, manufacturing is a stable and lucrative option.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers:
- An entry-level manufacturing engineer can expect to earn about $60,000 annually.
- The average manufacturing worker earns approximately $77,000 annually, roughly $15,000 more than the average worker across all sectors.
- Manufacturing workers enjoy the best job security in the private sector and help improve the overall economy.
Machinist Training Opportunities
Manufacturing, as Lampin’s employee-owners will tell you, is not the dirty job some people believe it to be. Students who visit Lampin to consider our student-employee program frequently remark that the manufacturing floor is “a lot cleaner than [they] expected.” Bill DiBenedetto and the other panelists agreed that changing misconceptions with first-hand experience is an important step toward encouraging students to consider machinist training.
Each year, Lampin brings young employees into the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) family with growth-oriented student employment opportunities. Students who choose to work at Lampin have the benefit of flexible schedules, on-the-job machinist training, and the opportunity to become an employee owner after a period of one year. With continued diligence from state officials, educators, and manufacturers, we at Lampin are confident that we can change the way people think about manufacturing and close the skills gap in Massachusetts.