Career days at high schools are common events. Soon-to-graduate seniors are steered – sometimes none too subtly – through the maze of opportunities that await them after high school. Options include military service, college, vocational training and employment – increasingly in the manufacturing sector.
As a parent, you have a tremendous opportunity to influence your child’s choices. Your input matters – even when you think your child is ignoring you, on some level, they’re listening. A career day presents us with a question: would you steer your child toward a career in manufacturing?
The first factor to consider is your child. You know your kid better than anyone else. What type of work would they enjoy doing? Not everybody is going to be happy spending their lives shuffling paper. Some people are never happier than when they’re able to get hands on, actually engaged in the process of making stuff. If this is true for your child, you may want to talk to them about a career in manufacturing.
Some people shy away from the manufacturing sector because those jobs aren’t seen as ‘prestigious’ as careers in finance, say, or academia. We’d like to suggest that there’s a certain amount of value to be found in steady, high-paying employment that doesn’t require hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of college debt to qualify for. Also? There are an awful lot of PhDs serving coffee at Starbucks.
Be willing to have an open mind about manufacturing. It’s a rich, diverse industry that extends far beyond what you’re imagining life on a factory floor to be. In our role as used manufacturing machinery brokers, we’ve been in literally thousands of factories, mills, plants, and other manufacturing sites. The variety and scope of expertise present in America’s workforce is a beautiful thing to see.
Your child could be part of that. But they need to know that manufacturing is a perfectly valid career option. It’s a sector of the economy that may never have occurred to them. Bringing up the possibility of working in manufacturing, either through a career fair or by talking about the manufacturing companies that are operating in your region or nearby cities. Most importantly of all, encourage their curiosity, no matter what your child is investigating – there’s nothing to be lost by a child discovering what all their employment options are!