Progress Being Made in Making Students Aware of Opportunities in Manufacturing

Industry advocates appear to be making headway in getting students to consider careers in manufacturing. Although progress is being made, job opportunities in manufacturing continue to abound in South Dakota and throughout the nation.

Before and after surveys completed last fall by some of the students who competed in a video contest sponsored by South Dakota Manufacturing & Technology Solutions (MTS) indicate an increased willingness to consider manufacturing as a career and an improved perception of the work. The survey was part of an annual “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” video contest for middle school students across the state.

MTS sponsors the video contest to address misunderstandings about manufacturing jobs and introduce students to the vast career opportunities that exist in fields involving science, technology, engineering, mathematics and skilled trades. Another objective is to make students aware of educational pathways they can take to reach their career aspirations.

Schools and contestants are encouraged to sign up by May 31 to compete in the 2019-2020 video contest. Each student team will be assigned to a manufacturing company in their area. After touring the company and getting an explanation of the products or services it produces, students interview employees to see why they like their jobs and what is “cool” about what they do. The students use the information to produce a two-minute video. Videos are uploaded to the www.dreamitdoitsd.com website and are judged by the number of votes they receive online.

The more familiar students are with the transformed industry, the more open they become to working in it, said Sara Byre, a marketing specialist with MTS.

“Today you see more technology, robotics, and innovation than ever before in the manufacturing industry. There are roles in research and design, engineering, technology, supply chain management, operations, quality control and more,” Byre said. “Manufacturing careers are in demand and offer so much potential for growth and high-paying wages. We need to continue to encourage and expose students to the industry so they can gain an understanding of the opportunities available to them.”

The average pay for manufacturing workers in South Dakota, not counting benefits, is more than
$49,000 per year. But keeping up with rising demand for skilled workers in South Dakota and the nation will continue to be a challenge, Byre said.

In 2016, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation projected the 10 fastest-growing occupations in the state. Among them were computer-controlled machine tool operators, industrial machinery mechanics and machinists. As of February 2019, about 45,500 people in South Dakota were employed in manufacturing, according to the department. The total was up 4.4 percent from the February 2018 total of 43,600.

Finding skilled workers is not just a South Dakota challenge. Byre pointed out that according to a 2018 study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, a skills gap could result in an estimated 2.4 million positions in the U.S. manufacturing industry going unfilled between 2018 and 2028.

“We’re definitely making an effort to close the gap in South Dakota by exposing students to manufacturing and also by helping manufacturers implement more automation in their facilities to address the lack of workforce,” she said.

For more information about the video contest and MTS, contact Byre at (605) 366-5732 or sara.byre@usd.edu.

You might also like...

  1. Celebrating South Dakota Manufacturing Week - [Infographic]
    With Manufacturing Day approaching on Friday, October 7, we wanted to take the week to highlight the amazing industry in our state. First up, we have an infographic with the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development!
  2. Cybersecurity Risk Management Workshop Info
    Protect your organization and lessen its vulnerability to cybersecurity threats In this one-day workshop, gain access to insight and cybersecurity expertise to learn steps on how to protect your organization and lessen its vulnerability to overall
  3. Manufacturing Day Information
    Manufacturing Day is the First Friday of Every October! 2022's Date for MFG day is: Friday, October 7. Manufacturing is one of South Dakota’s top industries, providing jobs to tens of thousands of people throughout the state. Manufacturing Day (MFG
  4. New Peer Groups Recently Launched
    Business leaders don't always have the support system they need in their roles. That’s especially true in roles like human resources or being a CEO, where a high level of trust and confidentiality is key. MTS strives to offer a space for leaders in
  5. Supply Chain Workshops Hosted Around State
    South Dakota Manufacturing & Technology Solutions is proud to introduce a series of one-day workshops being hosted around the state the week of June 13, focusing on Supply Chain Management strategies. About this event In this one-day workshop,
  6. The 411 on the Automation 101 Course
    One of the key challenges for many manufacturers in the state of South Dakota is the demand for their products is growing. Another challenge is that South Dakota is a small state in terms of population, so we need to take the existing workforce we