Take a Manufacturing Skilled Trades tour with Tom Daldin at DeWys Manufacturing.
Many people associate skilled trades with low paying or dirty jobs, but many skilled trades jobs have evolved into good-paying, sustainable, high-tech career opportunities. Today, skilled trades are some of the most in-demand jobs in Michigan, with more than 8,300 job openings. That number will continue to grow, with more than 6,700 job openings expected every year through 2022. Learn about a career in the manufacturing industry firsthand by watching interviews with professionals in the industry.
Manufacturing Skilled Trades Q&A
Read below for a quick summary of the most viable information from the video!
Question: What is the current state of the manufacturing industry in Michigan?
Answer: Manufacturing is coming back in this state like no other. It’s the bread and butter of Michigan. DeWys Manufacturing started in the 1970s as a small company, kind of a one-man band, making fire place inserts, wood racks, but since then, we’ve taken on new customers, new industries. Today, we create a lot of products for wide range of companies, including several fortune 500 companies, and it’s all done right here in Michigan.
Question: What types of careers are available in manufacturing?
Answer: From design to welding, there is a wide array of paths you can take. At DeWys, we offer rewarding careers for people who can perform precision work. And with manufacturing, you don’t need a four-year degree, but it does require some kind of certification or available on-the-job training. For someone who has just graduated from high school, there is a lot of opportunity out there.
Question: What types of skills are needed for a successful career in manufacturing?
Answer: People need to have good critical thinking and problem solving skills. The technical side to manufacturing is amazing. It’s like none other. But with skilled trades, you fast track your career because the training starts once you’ve been hired into a company, so you’ll learn the skills necessary to build a lucrative career.
Question: How has technology changed the manufacturing industry?
Answer: Today, the word used by the industry is smart manufacturing. It’s gotten far more technical. Two or three decades ago, it was pushing a button and let the machine do all the work. It’s much smarter now. The technology and equipment used in the manufacturing industry are advanced, expensive machines so employers need a dedicated and talented workforce.
Question: What is the training like to operate the equipment in manufacturing?
Answer: When you first start in manufacturing, it’s unlikely you’ll know how to operate the machines and computers that are in the shop. Today, there’s a lot of technology that you have to get trained on to learn how each piece of machinery works and what it does. But once you come in, you’ll start to grow into the career path you’re on, whether you’re a welder or a press brake operator. And some will cross-train, so you’ll learn about different positions.
Question: For a trade like welding, what would you tell someone who is interested in following that career path in manufacturing?
Answer: It’s going to take practice. Not a lot of people can say they’re really good at it because it takes a lot of patience, but it’s a good trade and there are a lot of great opportunities out there. You can go into manufacturing, production welding, underwater welding or robotics. There’s also a high demand for welders so you can make a very lucrative living with this career path.
Question: What types of products does DeWys manufacture?
Answer: We’re a contract manufacturer so we fabricate a lot of different products for a wide array of customers. A few of our clients are office furniture companies so we create a lot of metal components. We also work with electronics companies and a medical company.
Question: Is there a skill gap in Michigan with the older generation retiring?
Answer: We are losing a large chunk of the baby boomers every year. We are trying to get ahead of that trend as fast as we can by going into schools and talking to youth about the great career you can have in manufacturing.
Question: What types of professional benefits do you get from entering into a skilled trades career?
Answer: One of the great things about working at DeWys has been learning the newer computer programs that I may not have had the chance to experience while in school. The amount of learning you’ll gain from your classes only prepares you for about half of what you’ll actually encounter, so that real-world experience with skilled trades is invaluable.
Question: What do you find rewarding about working in manufacturing?
Answer: It’s great to see something that is designed on a computer screen and then crafted in the shop and know you had a hand in that. To see a project go from the design concept and raw materials to a reality is just fascinating to me.
Question: What excites you to come into work every morning?
Answer: All the different jobs. I can go all week without doing the same job. While there are tasks that will repeat, you’re never just stuck doing a single thing every day, five days a week. And technology has really made the work more advanced, as well as safer and fun.
Get more information on skilled trades and advanced manufacturing career paths.