A Future for Manufacturing in Baltimore and Beyond

A fine piece in today’s Baltimore Sun, profiling a young man making the most of his skills, training and opportunities at local manufacturer (and great NAM member), Marlin Steel Wire Products. From “No college required for high-paying jobs“:

Reginald Priester II was going to work in a shoe store for $6 an hour after he graduated from high school in 2005. Money made college problematic, and any job was looking pretty good. Then he found that the global economy was ready to bid much higher for the drafting and math skills he learned at Edmondson-Westside High.

Today he’s a designer for Marlin Steel Wire Products, making close to $30,000 a year, plus retirement and health care plans. He figures he can double that in a few years.

This could be you, high school students, if only society were better at allocating talent. For the right people, there still are good factory jobs that don’t require a college degree. If you’re proficient at math, like machines and don’t feel like beginning your career with $30,000 or $60,000 in college debt, pay attention. Some vocational career tracks will take you further than you think.

We might quibble with a point or two here, thinking that the reporter might have better drawn the distinction at requiring a “four-year college degree.” Two-year degrees from technical or community colleges are very important educational programs, conducive to productive careers in manufacturing. That said, there are also good, focused training programs that certify students who gain specific knowledge or skills.

But in any case, the essential point is one we endorse entirely: Manufacturing provides great opportunities for young people who acquire good technical skills. Thanks to the Sun, Marlin Steel Wire and Reginald Priester for make the case so clearly.

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