manufacturing industry needs workers, Metro Community College strives to fill the void

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Good news for high schoolers thinking about their next move. With the last Nebraska unemployment numbers sitting at just 2.2%, and Iowa just above, the jobs are there. For one industry in particular, the demand for labor is high.

If you’re thinking about what’s next in your career, or maybe you have a kid graduating from high school soon, Omaha manufacturers need workers.

“You can go all over the country with it. Choose your job. Choose your salary, what you are looking for. It’s just that demand,” said Bryan Geise, assistant professor at Metro Community College.

According to the data available from the Bureau of Labor Statisticsso far this year, there have been approximately 860,000 manufacturing jobs available in America. The National Association of Manufacturers says it’s a lack of qualified peoplepeople who opt for business school.

“A four-year degree is not where everyone needs to go or wants to go. You can get out into this industry and make a very good living out of it,” said Rich Pollmiller, plant manager at Malloy Electric. “Trade schools, colleges in two years. That’s all we need to get you started.

Some of the 60 students at MCC’s workforce development event on Friday have already gained manufacturing experience in their high school programs. But the event has just opened their eyes to even more opportunities.

“We’re trying to get them to see the different trades programs that are available in manufacturing and plant that seed at the high school level, so when they graduate from high school hopefully they already have some training under their belt. And we can transfer them directly to our industry partners where the jobs are,” said Jim Champion, MCC Pathway Coordinator.

Sparks flew for those who gave it a practical try as welders at the MCC South Omaha Campus. They also sampled electrical and mechanical programming, precision machinery, and robotics.

They say if you have certain qualities, you would be a good candidate.

“If they like to create things. They like to solve problems. They like being part of a team of people who design, build and fix things,” Pollmiller said.

Owen Mann, a freshman at Blair High School, wants to pursue a career in manufacturing for some of these same reasons.

“I just like to build stuff. And practical things are really cool to me,” Mann said. everything and try new things.

The demand for people to enter the manufacturing industry is so high that employers are even offering incentives.

“There are a lot of career paths you can take at this college, where companies will help pay for your [college] career too,” Pollmiller said. “There are so many businesses in the Omaha area that will help pay for your school and guide you, teach you what they do and what is available to you.”

“This high demand right now and the lack of skilled trades. They’re ready to do a lot right now to get who they need there,” Geise said.

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