Advanced manufacturing careers provide room for growth and meaningful work

June 3, 2021

Patti Preston

Our nation depends on resilient, capable and adaptable manufacturers in times of need, and that fact has been crystallized over the last year and a half. Advanced manufacturing enables our country to meet the growing demand for everyday goods and services through the use of modern and innovative technology.

While some of the country focused on producing goods such as hand sanitizer, PPE and other household necessities throughout the pandemic, the need for things like building materials, automobile parts and electronics are ramping up again. That translates to more jobs at almost all points of the manufacturing supply chain.

According to data from LinkedIn, job postings in manufacturing have risen 43.64 percent since the start of the pandemic. Those whose employment was impacted by COVID-19 may find a new opportunity in the manufacturing industry this year. It’s an alluring career path as many manufacturing jobs offer reliable hours, competitive wages, above-average benefits and paid time off.

Manufacturers like my employer, Altec Inc., are hiring skilled manufacturers to help meet the demands of the booming economy. I’ve worked for Altec, one of the most prominent advanced manufacturers in the Elizabethtown area, for 23 years. I’d recommend a career in advanced manufacturing to anyone with a good work ethic who is seeking room for growth and looking to join a thriving team atmosphere.

I began in Altec’s production sector but quickly accelerated within the company by taking advantage of Altec’s tuition reimbursement benefits. I’m now the final assembly supervisor at our Elizabethtown location. I took skills courses in welding at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) that allowed me to move up the ranks and begin leading others in the field. I even became the first female at Altec’s Elizabethtown plant to weld, which was uncommon two decades ago. Through the benefits provided by my employer, I was able to further my career in advanced manufacturing and gain experience in multiple areas of the Altec business.

My story is a demonstration of the endless opportunities for individuals in the advanced manufacturing industry. Many people believe that they need to have certifications and experience in the field they’re applying for before they walk through the door, but that’s not always the case. I was able to take advantage of my employer’s benefits to gain on-the-job skills training at work and attend classes at night that equipped me with the expertise I needed to do the job. Altec has several people pursuing education in maintenance, engineering, drafting and business through our local community college programs. Through the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS) you can go to college for a reduced rate or even free. Earning a certificate, diploma or an associate degree that can lead to a high-paying in-demand career in our region. To learn more about programs and colleges that WRKS covers visit workreadyky.com.

If you’re searching for a career field that allows you to feel challenged, makes you feel part of something bigger, and provides you with endless benefits at work and beyond, I’d recommend seeking a job in advanced manufacturing.

Patti Preston is the final assembly supervisor at Altec Industries.

The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail helps match job seekers with local employment and training opportunities. Our business solutions team offers employers of all sizes and industries personalized support to build a competitive workforce. We are an equal opportunity employer.
Program is funded with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title I funds through the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board.
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