Muskegon is a growing and dynamic area with a rich history in industry that has been a staple to the community for generations. While we are seeing more diversity in jobs in the area, the manufacturing sector is still strong and reaches a global market through area companies like Scherdel Sales and Technology, ADAC, Rolar Products and Eagle Alloy. Along with Muskegon Community College and The Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, these companies opened their doors on October 24th to show area students what it's like to work in the high tech field of manufacturing in 2023.
Today's manufacturing world is a dynamic and growing opportunity for those who excel at technology, problem solving, quality assurance and supply chain management. If you stop and think about a guy standing on a line stamping parts all day, you're somewhat stuck in what was. A lot of the minutia is handled by machines now and it's in the care and maintenance of the machines that complete the process that the jobs are found. Also, in making sure the machines are supplied with the raw materials needed to produce the product and then get the product to the purchaser in time. There is also the design end of things. Not only do the parts need to be created, sometimes from nothing more than a dream, but the machine to make the parts....you got it. They need to either build or program an existing machine to do the precision work to meet tolerances that are microns in size. It's an awesome and challenging field to get into, and the jobs are not drying up anytime soon.
We can shift a little too. The "front end" of the manufacturing world involves a team of remarkable people who have to find the right people to work. There are times it might be a global effort to find the right candidate to lead a project and be able to collaborate with multiple other groups to accomplish a task that will come together, with all of the components being sourced from every corner of the world. Add in those who need to take care of payroll, company amenities and culture and advancement opportunities for those who are there, and it's pretty easy to see why manufacturing is still and will most likely be a mainstay here in Muskegon.
Learning these skills, that's where the Muskegon Are ISD and Muskegon Community College come in. You can begin as early as high school to work toward a certificate or degree. In Scherdel's case, they will even help very generously with the tuition to make it happen. Think about that opportunity for a young person for a moment? An apprentice type job, paying a great starting wage and a large portion of tuition while you are actively learning on two fronts. Way better than some of my first jobs which included the famous line "do you want fries with that?"
Our area companies, and educational institutions are working in collaboration to assure that our roots are planted here and that opportunity abounds for younger people. As the importance of all that we do in Muskegon grows, so too grows the necessity of a solid foundation of people calling Muskegon home. This is so much more than a pipeline to a manufacturing job. This is truly a pipeline to community stability and opportunity in the long term, and to know that the seeds are being planted as early as high school, provides a great outlook for years to come.