Report: NC Manufacturing Jobs, New And Modern

Apr 11, 2014

President Obama visited Vacon in RTP earlier this year. Vacon is a global leader in developing AC drives.
Credit White House

Manufacturing jobs across the state are holding steady in some regions.  A report released Thursday takes a look at modern manufacturing and how it can help North Carolina thrive.

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) says the formula for creating a new manufacturing platform in the state is re-branding, networking and training youth, as young as possible.

Anita Brown-Graham is director of the Institute.  She says you can also let people know how much money they can make.

“So the average annual compensation in manufacturing for North Carolina is $67,000," said Brown-Graham.

That’s a lot.  More than many people might guess.

“You could go to any mall in any town in North Carolina, you would get much lower answers unless the person actually worked in manufacturing.  We have to change that," said Brown-Graham.

North Carolina is the fourth largest manufacturing state in the country and tops in the southeast.  The latest report from the state Commerce Department says there were about 440,000 manufacturing jobs across the state in February 2014, little change from February 2013.

The Institute co-hosted manufacturing community forums in 15 counties, to highlight efforts to prepare young workers for new manufacturing.

"The reality is, if we want students to matriculate career-ready or college-ready, they are going to have to have opportunities during their K through 12 tenure to learn what these jobs are," said Brown-Graham.  "That means manufacturers are going to have to be ready to open their doors."

The report encourages apprenticeships and regional educational and training efforts that align local enterprises with educational institutions.