Find answers to common questions most asked by students, parents and job seekers. We’re always adding to our FAQs, so please CONTACT US if you have a question we haven’t answered.

1Why is there such an emphasis on manufacturing as a career?
There is a shortage of workers in certain manufacturing occupations due to an aging workforce and a shift in skill requirements due to automation. There is increasing demand for certain manufacturing occupations, including welders, machinery mechanics, and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine operators and programmers, These professions in particular are in demand as manufacturing automation increases and licensed professionals like welders are aging out of the workforce. The shortage of people that can teach manufacturing skills is compounding this challenge. Source
2What is the average annual salary for a manufacturing employee?
According to the Illinois Manufacturers' Association 2022 report, Manufacturing Matters, the average annual wage per manufacturing worker is $79,409.
3Are manufacturing jobs primarily for those with 'less education'?
Certainly not. Manufacturing jobs are skilled, with high wages, and with a wage premium of 11.7% over the average job in Illinois. Manufacturing occupations are expected to see the largest job growth compared to all other occupations. The majority of positions within manufacturing (73%) will continue to require a high school diploma or less. Whle 37% of in-demand manufacturing occupations require some form of post-secondary education, the most in-demand occupations within manufacturing typically require between just one and six months of on-the-job training. Source
4Do manufacturing firms provide important benefits, such as health insurance?
Manufacturers have one of the highest percentages of workers who are eligible for health benefits provided by their employer. Indeed, 91% of manufacturing employees were eligible for health insurance benefits in 2022, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. This is significantly higher than the 78% average for all firms. Of those who are eligible, 81% participate in their employer’s plans (i.e., the take-up rate). State and local government (89%), transportation, communications and utilities (85%) and finance (83%) had higher take-up rates in 2022. Meanwhile, the average annual cost of a family health care plan for a family of four in manufacturing was $21,852 in 2022. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
5Are the job opportunities in manufacturing growing?
Over the next decade, 4 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 2.1 million are expected to go unfilled if we do not inspire more people to pursue modern manufacturing careers. Moreover, according to a recent report, the cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone. Source: Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute
6What level of education is typically required for a job in manufacturing?

It all depends on the role, but there are lots of routes into modern manufacturing. Some require a college degree, while others involve on-the-job training or apprenticeships for kids coming out of high school or with a few years of community college.

What sets manufacturing apart from many other sectors of the economy is the commitment to lifelong training and education. The teaching you get in the first few years of your career is designed to build on the foundations of what you learned at high school or college.rees if they’re related to the job.

7What type of training might I need to work in manufacturing?
A two-year technical college program can be a great start. Machine technology or engineering-related is a great place to start and getting certifications from NIMS, MMSC, and other professional organizations are highly recommended. Most technical training will be part of the on-the-job apprenticeship program. A good foundation in math, shop, and drafting (computer programming), will be helpful. Source
8What are the most important skills and abilities for manufacturing?
​Good attitude and work ethic, a willingness to learn from others, mechanical aptitude, computer skills, and the ability to focus. Source
9Are there apprenticeship opportunities for high school students?
Apprenticeship opportunities are growing. With a 3-5 year commitment by a student and an employer, it is essential to try out the field first with an internship through your high school or a part-time or summer job. Check with your school or area manufacturing associations for career fairs and career nights leading to 'trial' employment opportunities. Check out the RESOURCES information on this website for more detailed information? Source
10Are there opportunities for advancement in manufacturing?
Yes. Tremendous opportunities. Endless opportunities. The problem-solving skills you learn as an advanced manufacturer will benefit you in any work environment no matter your career choices. Almost every shop owner started as an apprentice. Apprenticeships are back after going dormant for 2-3 decades. You should never stop learning. Source
11Why should young people consider modern manufacturing?

Manufacturing roles give young people the chance to design and build real things, whether it’s self-driving cars, lifesaving drugs or new ways to create green energy. You get the satisfaction of seeing your work impact people and society.

And the demand is enormous. Manufacturing companies are yearning for new talent. Modern manufacturing will generate 4.6 million skilled jobs in the next decades.

12Where in the country are manufacturing jobs located?
The short answer—everywhere. Manufacturing companies are found in all parts of the country, and there’s a strong ecosystem connecting big brands, small businesses and start-ups. In fact, manufacturers in Illinois account for 12.05% of the total output in the state, employing 9.74% of the workforce. Total output from manufacturing was $106.68 billion in 2019. In addition, there were an average of 555,000 manufacturing employees in Illinois in 2020, with an average annual compensation of $90,506.17 in 2019. Source
13How can I learn more about modern manufacturing?
Visit this site: to see videos that are testimonials from young people and other individuals who’ve thrived in manufacturing. These videos can help provide a feel for what people in modern manufacturing do daily and the types of things you can work on in manufacturing. Source