Manufacturing boosts trade school enrollment

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As overseas production operations return to the United States, enrollment in trade schools continues to rise. Despite high levels of unemployment, domestic manufacturing companies are finding it difficult to fill positions, thanks in part to an attitudinal shift over the years wherein young people did not consider manufacturing a respectable or attractive trade.

Such attitudes are starting to change, as indicated by the surging enrollment at trade schools. The Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, for example, is experiencing its highest enrollment in years, with students young and old looking to take advantage of the growing number of available manufacturing positions. Thanks to high demand, the school has even introduced a six-month certificate program for the first time in its history.

Many manufacturers have bemoaned the lack of qualified machinists to fill positions, and those manufacturers are emphasizing that today’s machinists must be computer literate and be skilled in computer-aided design and engineering. That increased demand for skilled workers has driven up their wages. In fact, a 2012 study from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce noted that 63 percent of workers with associate’s degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering or manufacturing earned more money than the average person with a bachelor’s degree in the humanities or social sciences.

As trade schools continue to benefit from the return of manufacturing jobs, recent college graduates continue to find a job market that is less than welcoming. Analysis of government data for the Associated Press found that in early 2012 half of recent college graduates were either unemployed or underemployed (working in positions unrelated to their degree).

Such a reality has been advantageous to trade schools, which have become an increasingly attractive option for the masses of unemployed men and women.

Courtesy of Metro Creative