Across America, millions of manufacturers are working every day to make America, and over the next decade, manufacturers are expected to hire 3.5 million more people to do it. Unfortunately, nearly half of those jobs may go unfilled due to a lack of trained workers.
We caught up with Omar Colmenares, a 31-year-old supply chain lead at International Paper, to ask how he got into modern manufacturing and why others should, too.
What was your path to becoming part of modern manufacturing?
I graduated in industrial engineering in my home country Venezuela. Upon graduation, I worked for Ford Motor where I gained deep experience in modern manufacturing. I came to the USA to complete a M.S. in industrial engineering (Northeastern University in Boston), and after graduation, I was offered a job to work for International Paper.
What do you like best about your job?
Being able to work close to production lines and experience firsthand how different parts get transformed into a final product that customers will enjoy.
Thinking about the next 5–10 years, what excites you most about where modern manufacturing is going?
The fact that new programs are being created to be able to record and process big/thick data is just great! This helps companies tremendously because they are now able not only to run more efficiently but to understand the source of energy where cost savings can be incurred.
Young people can go into lots of different careers—health care, banking, retail, etc. What are the advantages of going into modern manufacturing?
Technology! Manufacturing has always been hand-to-hand with technology; you can see this from the industrial revolution until now. Technology is the future, and modern manufacturing is the key to succeed.
If you had to give young people the best reason to go into modern manufacturing, what would you say?
I will say that modern manufacturing is the future, and you should go ahead and start thinking now how you’d improve it.
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