There are several spins on adages of how important manufacturing is in our world, whether “it’s the cornerstone of our economy”, “the backbone of America”, or “the lifeblood of any nation”. These terms and their variation exist for good reason as manufacturing is intertwined with every other industry and integral to the basic operations within society.
But what is manufacturing? In simple terms, manufacturing is the creation of products or goods from raw materials; it creates these products by using human labor, machinery, tools, and chemical or biological processes. From there, the products can then be sold to other manufacturers for further production or to consumers through wholesalers, retailers, or directly through catalog or website. Think about your car, the furniture you sit on or sleep in, or that computer you’re using—all of that came to be through the manufacturing process.
As a result of how important manufacturing is to our day-to-day, it is constantly transforming through changing needs and innovations in technology and processes. We’ve come a long way since the introduction of interchangeable parts; in fact, we’re currently undergoing the 4th industrial revolution as we see an increase in automation and smart-systems in the industry. Manufacturing has hit some rough patches over the last few decades as production was shipped outside of the country and the industry was given a misplaced reputation for unskilled labor, but its future is bright as operations become safer and more efficient and the jobs evolve within the industry, especially here in Idaho.
Idaho is fertile ground for both employers and talent interested in manufacturing opportunities as it has one of the fastest growing workforces, business friendliness, and recognition as one of the best states to live in. The communal, yet independent mentality throughout the state positions Idahoans to succeed and it is showing with our economy. Idaho is now home to over 1800 manufacturers and is seeing a huge growth in population through migration; however, even though we are seeing a low unemployment rate, we are in the back of the pack when it comes to other important metrics in educational success and percentage of Idahoans earning minimum wages.
Creating talent pipelines into living wage careers in Idaho can shift the focus to providing current and future job-seekers with actual skills and training that are valued in the workplace and build up our communities’ prosperity throughout the state. With an average wage that nears the highest for private-sector pay, there are many great opportunities that exist in the industry—whether it’s for a labor force that gains on the job (OTJ) technical skills to climb the economic ladder or individuals with advanced formal degrees for an extremely rewarding career. Our goal is to lead the conversation and open the window for success in Idaho with manufacturing.