High-tech, high-paying jobs in U.S. manufacturing

February 28, 2012

The U.S. may be emerging from the depths of the 2008 recession, but job opportunities with high wages and innovative work environments are few and far between. However, manufacturing is one sector that seems to have generated plenty of these employment opportunities, CNN Money reported.

According to the news outlet, there a number of high-paying jobs that are going unfilled in manufacturing, as candidates have overlooked the high-tech nature of the sector.

"When I was an apprentice in the late '70s, kids were dying to get into manufacturing. There were plenty of factory jobs," Joe Sedlak, a machinist who owns the Chesapeake Machine Company in Baltimore, told CNN Money. "There are jobs for the taking today. But kids don't want them."

According to the news outlet, the notion of a factory job is one that manufacturers are trying to distance themselves from, as the industry is now high-tech and uses innovative machinery that leaves the old notions of the sector in the past.

CNN Money reported that a readjustment of business strategy by many companies, along with a shortage of skilled workers, has led to an abundance of high-paying jobs. An aspiring machinist, for example, can start training at 18 and in five years can be making more than $50,000. In 10 years, that number could rise above $100,000.

"If you're really good at your work, you could remain employed for a very long time, because there are so few of us," Sedlak told the news outlet.

These high-paying jobs are largely unnoticed by many unemployed Americans, who, according to CNN Money, believe that they have to go to a four-year college in order to get a high-paying position. The issue remains changing the perceptions that people have about manufacturing.

Leo W. Gerard, international president for United Steelworkers, writing in the Huffington Post, noted that manufacturing has been the backbone of the country since the days of Alexander Hamilton and later Abraham Lincoln, who both nurtured the sector due to its importance in shaping the nation.

According to the article, the recent proposal by President Barack Obama could further strengthen the sector, like past moves by politicians, as increasing the motivation for U.S. businesses to bring jobs back would help to restore American manufacturing to the place it used to hold. Gerard noted this stood in sharp contrast to policies that favor letting companies outsource their work.

"It's illogical, even unpatriotic to use tax dollars to subsidize companies that send jobs overseas, transferring America's manufacturing power to foreign countries like China," Gerard said in the article.