The United States currently has 488,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs. Although a challenge for the industry, it exemplifies many positive aspects of a humming economy – especially in Arizona.
With so many manufacturing job vacancies, Arizona is working to prepare workers for the available positions. Innovative jobs programs and assistive legislative policies provide a strong boost for the manufacturing industry.
Dawn Grove, Chair of the Arizona Manufacturers Council, explains that manufacturing jobs in Arizona are on the rise and employers are working hard to fill the positions.
“The manufacturing industry added nearly 9,000 jobs from September of 2017 to 2018. We are having to become more innovative to find enough skilled workers to meet manufacturers’ needs,” Grove notes. “The result is the lowest Arizona unemployment rate in over a decade and the lowest US unemployment rate in nearly 50 years. Average wages for manufacturing jobs in Arizona are more than 50 percent higher than the average wages for all positions in Arizona.”
She notes the increase in available manufacturing jobs largely stems from the state’s welcoming and encouraging business atmosphere. “Governor Ducey and Arizona’s legislative leaders have fostered a positive tax and regulatory climate that helps manufacturers here be more globally competitive,” Grove states. “The less any profits are swallowed up by costs of complying with unnecessarily burdensome or duplicative regulations and taxes, the more companies can invest in our people.”
For example, Arizona collaborated with Mexican representatives to create SkyBridge Arizona, the first international cargo hub. Grove highlights the importance of SkyBridge, asserting, “This helps Arizona manufacturers promptly send products anywhere in Mexico without having to go through the cumbersome international customs center in Mexico City.” Additions like SkyBridge make Arizona an efficient and opportune location for manufacturing companies.
Arizona leaders are also implementing creative programs to provide more job training opportunities. For example, the Arizona Commerce Authority developed the Advanced Technologies Corridor – a conglomerate of three community college systems that works to create a manufacturing curriculum which best positions students for jobs in the manufacturing sector.
The state also created job programs in state prisons to fill open positions with those looking for a fresh start. The Second Chance Center in the Lewis Arizona State Prison Complex allows inmates to have just that – a second chance. Through job training, inmates can learn skills in carpentry, masonry, and more. Grove notes that 60 percent of Second Chance participants leave prison with a job.
With a growing number of available jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector, Arizona has proven to be innovative and resourceful in workforce development. Through international collaboration, education and skills training, and job programs, Arizona is preparing individuals to step into rewarding careers in manufacturing.