#IMakeInPA: Celebrating Manufacturing Careers & Opportunities
Part of what we do at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) every day is to promote the manufacturing industry, showcasing the positive impact it has both on the state’s economy and on working families. How could we not, knowing the industry has an $84 billion impact on PA’s economy and the commonwealth has the eighth-largest manufacturing industry in the nation? Today, our manufacturing industry includes more than 14,000 establishments throughout Pennsylvania and employs more than half a million individuals who earn an average annual wage of nearly $60,000, considerably higher than the average annual wage in Pennsylvania. Many people are not aware that manufacturing offers that level of compensation.
Pennsylvania continues to be a leader in manufacturing, a legacy that has evolved from traditional products like food, forestry products and metals to medical devices, plastics, chemicals and much more. And our workforce today is both skilled and diverse, from millennials and baby boomers to men and women.
From Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, 2017, we will celebrate the third annual Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week. The initiative complements National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6, aiming to promote the industry and address misperceptions of manufacturing today, draw attention to the amazing career opportunities available in a variety of sectors, and educate the public on the significant impact manufacturing has on our economy.
This year, we’re getting personal. With the launch of our new #IMakeInPA digital campaign, we will feature the profiles of real Pennsylvanians working in manufacturing, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work and Pennsylvania pride that goes into their craft, and the jobs that allow them and their families to live happy. Their stories are a testament to how broad and varied manufacturing work can be, and how it enables many to realize their dream of making – whether its practical, artistic, or revolutionary.
The campaign will be housed on DCED’s Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week website, dced.pa.gov, and will also feature real-life stories of how our diverse manufacturers got into the trade, what a typical work day looks like and why they are proud to take part in Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry. We also encourage other makers and manufacturing employees to share their own story using the #IMakeinPA hashtag on social media.
Also new this year, we are focusing on the importance of students having access to makerspaces. In recent years, the United States has seen the growth of makerspaces — communal spaces often housed at schools, universities and libraries that offer a collaborative environment for individuals of all ages to express their creativity through hands-on, do-it-yourself projects. Many makerspaces offer access to resources such as 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and more to help users collaborate on or implement new ideas or projects. Many of the skills fostered in makerspaces translate to manufacturing careers, and allow students, entrepreneurs, and hobbyists to experience what it’s like to craft and create something of their own. Whether it’s a simple toy, a product prototype come to life, or a new idea finally taking form, makerspaces tap into people’s desire to see their ideas take shape.
In Pennsylvania, we have makerspaces across the state for students and adults alike to learn what it is like to be a maker. Our website includes a map of the makerspaces in Pennsylvania, and videos of makerspaces including the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Charters Valley School District, and Innovation Works.
One of the common threads throughout all of our stories is technology. Manufacturing in Pennsylvania is directly linked to innovation, and we continue to see Pennsylvania companies creating and adopting groundbreaking technologies. Whether it is technology that helps improve efficiency and productivity — like 3D printing, robotics, automation and autonomous vehicles — or technology that helps connect companies to consumers through new software developments and digital platforms, we’re seeing all sorts of innovation driving growth in our manufacturing industry.
We have heard time and again that companies located in Pennsylvania find our world-class R&D institutions, technology commercialization programs, technical and industrial resources, and skilled workforce combine to create a unique advantage for businesses. We really do offer a competitive edge for manufacturers.
For industry facts and figures, Pennsylvania manufacturing news, information on makerspaces, videos and more, visit dced.pa.gov/mfgweek. Follow DCED on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and join the conversation using the hashtags #IMakeInPA, #MadeInPA and #MFGday17.
Neil Weaver has two decades of experience in non-profit and government management, operations, and communications. During his career, Neil has served in executive management at both the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection. In his current role as Acting Secretary at DCED, Neil functions as the chief executive of an agency that is responsible for administering grants, loans and tax credits that spur economic growth, community revitalization, and job creation throughout the state by providing strategic technical assistance, training, and financial resources to help our communities and industries flourish.