Pennsylvania celebrates National Manufacturing Day

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Pennsylvania, home to the eighth-largest manufacturing industry in the United States, is celebrating National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 1 by highlighting the many career opportunities in the sector.

Noting the importance of manufacturing to the Pennsylvania economy with its $92 billion in gross domestic product, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin said the day is an opportunity to recognize what manufacturers offer to the state’s workforce.

“Looking at all we produce in Pennsylvania — from fabricated metals, food, machinery, and chemicals to plastics, electronics, and transportation equipment — really inspires a sense of pride,” Davin said in a blog post.

In Pennsylvania, manufacturing accounts for nearly 11 percent of the state’s jobs with more than 536,300 employees at more than 14,400 establishments, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania said. Those jobs are high-paying ones too, averaging more than $72,000 in annual wages, nearly 8.4 percent higher than the average salary across the state.

Manufacturing jobs offer more than just high wages, Davin noted. About 85 percent of employees in manufacturing receive medical benefits and around 76 percent receive retirement benefits. In addition, many employers invest in their employees’ skills by offering training, apprenticeships, or other workforce development programs.

Catalyst Connection, a Pittsburgh non-profit organization that provides training and consulting to small manufacturers in Pennsylvania, said the day was an opportunity for companies to show what manufacturing means to the communities around them.

“National Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) and Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t,” the organization said. “By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.”

According to the Manufacturing Institute, manufacturers will fill more than 4 million high-skilled, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade.

This year, the Institute said, Manufacturing Day will also include an emphasis on digital and virtual events throughout the country, with manufacturing companies shining a light on careers within their industry, and how important those positions have been in the nation’s response to the pandemic.