VIEWPOINT: Changing the Narrative on Manufacturing Jobs

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a guest editorial by Cory Albrecht. Albrecht is the director of the Advanced Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) at Mohawk Valley Community College.

Originally published in the Central New York Business Journal | August 3, 2023

 

I recently asked a roomful of eighth graders, “Close your eyes and picture yourself walking down a street. You come across a manufacturing plant. What do you see?”

They imagined broken sidewalks, weeds, tall fences, and ugly brick buildings emitting thick, black smoke. Their responses were familiar — I’d heard them before in other classrooms. They were repeating negative stereotypes that have dominated the storyline about manufacturing jobs for decades.

This representation couldn’t be further from the truth. But its long-term impact on recruitment is very real. It’s time to change the narrative.

There’s a major disconnect between students’ perceptions and the reality of advanced manufacturing in New York state. We should open young people’s eyes to industries such as microelectronics and semiconductors, whose workers are in brand new, state-of-the-art facilities with multimillion-dollar equipment. It’s a high-tech, fast-moving environment with well-paying jobs… continue reading

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