What did you want to be when you grew up? An astronaut, teacher, rock star or something else? As kids, you probably often thought of what you would do after high school.
It’s been common for many years that parents push for the next step: college. But, it’s a common misconception that if you don’t get a college degree you won’t land a good job or make a decent living. Even though advancements in technology have changed the manufacturing industry, it has also created new jobs that require a new set of skills.
In today’s job market many of these “new-collar” roles require high-tech skills to operate and support advanced manufacturing equipment, such as computer numerical control (CNC) machining stations, lathes and lasers. Automation and robotics are also becoming part of the manufacturing world. These types of roles remain unfilled, which require a high-level of skill to work. Having just a degree won’t cut it.
A new-collar worker is defined as “pertaining to or designating middle-class wage earners holding jobs in a service industry,” according to Dictionary.com. It’s also described as someone who develops technical and soft skills to work in the technology industry through non-traditional education paths. Typically, someone who might have an associates degree and graduated from a vocational high school with a specific trade.
Some of the sought after digital skills are the ability to run automation and software, work with CAD files and programs, program sensors, maintain robots, repair 3D printers and collect and analyze data. These types of jobs are necessary for society to function in such a technology driven world. They require less than four years of training and often pay above average wages.
An article in the Huffington Post, by Felix W. Ortiz III stated that “middle-skill positions — those such as building and road construction supervisors, machinists, clean energy manufacturers and truckers — will account for 45 percent of new job openings over the next decade, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
These positions may not require the standard four-year degree, but they do require a specific skill set. People can learn these skills in a classroom or take courses to get trained, but hands-on experience is the best to have on a resume. Vocational schools are becoming much more popular now and give students the opportunity to graduate knowing a trade, while also leaving with a high school education. They can then go onto an apprenticeship to get the hands-on experience needed to land one of these “New-collar” jobs.
Companies, such as IBM, are offering programs where high school students can obtain an associate degree through a six-year program. They can then work for IBM or move on to pursue their four-year degree. Delta has also partnered with aviation schools to teach the skills needed to work for them. People don’t understand the skills needed to work for a commercial airline or that you could eventually make a six-figure salary within a few years.
Employers all over the country are having difficulty filling these types of roles. According to NBC News, Cathy Barrera, chief economic adviser for ZipRecruiter, said that the number of new collar positions posted on their site grew by 45 percent in the first 9 months of 2017. Some of these roles include positions in an Engineering Lab, Field Technicians, Equipment Operators. Also jobs as a Cable Technician or Tech and Desktop support.
It’s such a high priority that congress created The New Collar Jobs Act of 2017, to reeducate America’s industrial workers for high-demand jobs in cyber security. The act will incentivize companies to retrain their workers for higher paying, sustainable jobs. There will also be a tax credit for companies who send their employees for training in cyber security.
Micro Tech Staffing Group has been in this industry for more than 30 years and has seen first hand how the skills and demand for these roles have changed. The machining and technology world has changed drastically and will continue to do so. The new generation of workers need to open their eyes to these types of careers. Contact us, today to help guide you on a new path.