The Need for Skilled Manufacturers: Which Manufacturing Skills Are Employers Seeking?

In 2016, the number of open positions in the United States’ manufacturing industry reached its highest in the last 15 years. The shortage, industry experts say, is largely because workers do not possess the necessary manufacturing skills to do today’s jobs.

As many as 500,000 manufacturing careers are currently unfilled due to a lack of skilled, qualified workers. And between 2012 and 2022, the National Association of Manufacturers estimates that there will be a total of 2.2 million job openings in the manufacturing industry. What does this mean for you?

For those interested in pursuing a manufacturing career, this means that the job outlook is incredibly momentous. Career opportunities, upon completion of your necessary pre-requisites, will be abundant in nearly every manufacturing sector. And if you already have a foot into the manufacturing industry, this skills shortage may just give you a leg up in landing the job of your dreams. To get there, all you will need is a manufacturing education and the proper manufacturing skills under your belt.

Reality is, the manufacturing industry has taken great strides in recent decades. Technological advances, new lean and green manufacturing processes, and the demand for ‘made in America’ goods are helping the industry evolve into its most up-to-date, high-tech state. The industry, while still driven by innovation, creativity, and hands-on production, is more technologically in-tune than ever before.

As a result, today’s manufacturing workforce is much more educated than it was 40 or 50 years ago. Higher education is quickly becoming a requirement for thousands of manufacturing employers across the nation. Many advanced positions, such as Manufacturing Managers, Industrial Technicians, and Mechanical Engineers, now require applicants to hold a specialized post-secondary certificate or college degree from an accredited Manufacturing and Machining school.

Focused manufacturing programs are extremely beneficial for prospective manufacturing workers and their employers alike. On one hand, they offer dedicated, hands-on, on-the-job training to get students familiar with today’s manufacturing technologies and methodologies, in sectors such as CNC machining, green manufacturing, and supply chain & logistics. In addition, these manufacturing training programs aim towards creating a more skilled workforce, helping students develop the very manufacturing skills employers are looking for today.

At Goodwin College, a leading manufacturing college in Connecticut, we are consistently in touch with employers throughout the state. In fact, our programs are completely designed with employers’ wants and needs in mind. Each component of our training is based on today’s job qualifications, identified by actual manufacturing professionals.

Through our many connections, we have learned that today’s employers want workers who possess skills beyond the ability to run a machine. To be seen as a valuable worker today, and to advance within any manufacturing position, workers must possess a broader set of manufacturing skills, including:

  • Communication skills to work with team members and clients from all backgrounds, as well as follow and deliver instructions.
  • Problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to identify when certain processes are not working well and why. This includes the ability to ask questions and correct weaknesses.
  • Analytical skills to figure out how systems work and how certain aspects of working conditions, operations, and environment may affect the outcome of projects.
  • Math skills to analyze, design, and troubleshoot work.
  • Computer application experience to effectively use computers that work with CAD/CAM technology, CNC machine tools, and computerized measuring machines.
  • Mechanical and technical skills to safely operate specialized machinery such as drill presses and milling machines, as well as properly handle metalworking or other complicated processes.
  • Manual dexterity is also essential for many manufacturing jobs involving hands-on production and accuracy.

These are just some of the many in-demand traits defined by today’s employers. According to a recent survey from Deloitte Manufacturing Institute, the majority of manufacturers are especially in need of craft workers, machinists, operators, distributors, and technicians with a concentrated skillset in their niche. In the Connecticut manufacturing sector, there are also specific areas in particularly high demand:

  • CNC Machining
  • Quality Management & Assurance
  • Supply Chain & Logistics
  • Manufacturing Management

The need for skilled manufacturers, namely in the above sectors, is great in the state of Connecticut. Recently featured on The Hour, a local Connecticut talk show, several of Goodwin’s manufacturing program professors were interviewed about the current state of the industry. As cited by our manufacturing program staff, there are currently over 4,600 manufacturers in Connecticut, some 165,000 jobs in the state, and nearly 700 openings today.

Now is the time to pursue and reap the benefits of a manufacturing career, where job and advancement opportunities as well as employee salaries are high. If you are in the Connecticut area, you can start your career right at Goodwin College, where the curriculum is employer-driven and students get on-the-job training with today’s top manufacturers. Here, we help students develop and hone the manufacturing skills needed for success, job skills that can be taken anywhere upon completion of the program.

Get involved. Get creative. Get making. Call 800-889-3282 or visit to learn more about our manufacturing certificate and degree programs in Connecticut.