Find out about the career opportunities in modern manufacturing

The Manufacturers Association of Maine administers the Manufacturing Career Connection program to tell the story of modern manufacturing and promote career opportunities in this sector. We morphed the former “Dream It. Do It” program and activities into the MCC which focuses on “Manufacturing Month and All Year Long” events and student outreach.

For six years, MAME has coordinated facility tour events across the state for students, educators and the general public to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in manufacturing, engineering and technology. MAME rebranded the one-day MFGDAY event to “Manufacturing Month and All Year Long.” Since 2014, MAME has proudly engaged more than 11,000 students and educators. The MCC tours address common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving companies the opportunity to open their doors and show what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. Student outreach and tour activity has nearly quadrupled in the past six years — going from seven host sites and 500 students in 2014 to 46 host sites and over 1,500 students in 2018. While these tours are geared toward students, companies who host see increased excitement and productivity among employees who interact with the students and share their stories.

MAME has established partnerships with local educators to introduce students to manufacturing. Auburn Middle Schools adopted the tours in 2014 to bring their sixth grade classes of over 300 students per year on tours in Lewiston and Auburn. In 2017 and 2018 Westbrook High School sent their freshman class of over 140 students on tours. Baxter Academy and Gorham High School also sent groups of students numbering over 100 to tour facilities.

MAME has partnered with Mainebiz since 2017 on the Stuff Made in Maine magazine to highlight manufacturers and their employees and focus on the ladders that lead to great careers. Each year, 11,000 copies are distributed to Maine students, educators, businesses, policy makers, parents and job seekers. According to Jobs for Maine’s Graduates staff, some of their educators incorporate this publication in their curriculums to teach students about opportunities for their future.

Over the past 10 years, MAME has introduced students and educators to the “Business Showcase” at the Annual Manufacturing Summit, where companies across Maine showcase advanced technologies used in their facilities. The purpose is to highlight STEM and show students what Maine companies can offer for their future.

“Maine has nearly 1,860 manufacturers, representing 56,400 jobs and 12% of the state’s GDP. These jobs provide employees with a median salary of $58,100.”

Maine is challenged as one of the oldest workforces in the nation. Manufacturers face a significant shortfall in skilled workers as many of their employees reach retirement. This, paired with the statewide challenge to keep young Mainers from leaving the state, has many employers looking at a critical workforce shortage now. MCC activities increase awareness about manufacturing, build pipelines of the skilled workers needed to fill manufacturing jobs, and amplify the voice of individual manufacturers in Maine behind the message that manufacturing is a great career and Maine is a great state to work and live. These activities create a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges.

Maine has nearly 1,860 manufacturers, representing 56,400 jobs and 12% of the state’s GDP. These jobs provide employees with a median salary of $58,100, according to the Maine Department of Labor. Maine’s economy needs a growing manufacturing sector in order to retain and attract top quality talent to fill these openings. A vibrant manufacturing sector maintains a strong economy and strong communities.

Over the next decade, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs openings are projected, and 2.4 million are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. According to a recent report, 89% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly-skilled production positions. (Source: Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 2018 Skills Gap and Future of Work Study)

The study reveals that the skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion.

Here’s what we can do collectively to address the workers shortage for manufacturing:

1. Engage in the industry led consortium meetings hosted by MAME to develop training to job seekers and incumbent works.

2. Host a student/educator tour with local schools. MAME coordinates these events

3. Post a job or jobs on the MAME jobs board

4. Review and consider resumes from MAME of Veterans, new Mainers, and Fedcap participants.

5. Get involved with the Robotics Institute of Maine as donor, mentor or host site for teams.

Together, we will lead the efforts to retain and grow manufacturing in Maine. 

Lisa G. Martin

Executive Director, Manufacturers Association of Maine