News Details

PEDC Email Campaign: Manufacturing Workforce

February 7, 2018
State of the Modern Manufacturing Workforce

Although the manufacturing industry is reporting success in production and trade, business owners are still scrambling to fill a hole in the workforce. In 2016 it was reported that there were 12.5 million manufacturing workers in the United Sates, and on average they made more than $26.50 per hour (sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis). Despite these impressive numbers, it is anticipated that over the next decade there will be 3.5 million jobs needed in manufacturing, and 2 million will go unfilled due to the skills gap (source: Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute).

The modern manufacturing worker needs a higher skill set than those that came before, including critical math, science, technology, and even reading skills. Factory line workers whose jobs have been replaced by sophisticated machinery now need the skills to fix any machine issues, in conjunction with knowledge on the entire creation process of a product. These skills are being developed through apprenticeship and job training programs, with many arguing that the Manufacturing industry needs to acknowledge the disconnect between basic skills training and the necessary skills needed in a changing industry (source: National Conference of State Legislatures).

Spotlight on: Putnam County Manufacturing

Unilock introduced their pavers to the United States in 1972. Since then they have established factories throughout the United States including one in Brewster, NY. Factory workers include Utility Persons, General Laborers, Machine Operators, Industrial Mechanics, and Forklift Operators. While there is a certain amount of on-the-job training required, applicants need to possess skills such as: basic math and reading skills, ability to operate, maintain and make repairs to industrial equipment, perform necessary production work, and more. Putnam County’s well-educated workforce makes it a prime location for your business. Click here to view Putnam County education stats.

The Council of Industry, based in the Hudson Valley, is set to roll out their Manufacturing Alliance Apprenticeship program in 2018 which they hope will encourage registered apprentices to thoroughly develop skills in their current field by training on-the-job with a journey level crafts person. The program requires that apprentices complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, and an additional 144 hours per year of related- instruction for theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of the craft.

“The goal is to ensure an adaptable workforce, and the related instruction will provide a learning foundation for the apprentices who will then be capable of working with various technologies and machinery,” states Director of Workforce Development & Apprenticeship Program Coordinator Johnnieanne Hansen. The program is open to registered apprentices in the following trades: Welding, Machinist, Electronics Technician, Quality Assurance Auditor, Toolmaker, Maintenance Mechanic, and Electro-Mechanical Technician.

The Council of Industry is a member-driven organization whose mission is to promote the success of its member firms and their employees, and through them contribute to the success of the Hudson Valley community. There are 5 “tools” used to accomplish the Council’s goal including Training Programs, Workforce Development, Member Discounts on Products and Services, Events and Networking opportunities, and Advocacy. Trends in the Manufacturing industry have seen a demand in early-childhood education in STEM programs and “speaking to the myth of what a manufacturing worker looks like, as opposed to the complex careers available in manufacturing today,” states Harold King, COI Executive Vice President. The Council looks to combat the myths of manufacturing through their interactive website GoMakeIt, a tool for high school students to explore the careers available in advanced manufacturing in the Hudson Valley.

Putnam County Council members include the Dunmore Corporation, Putnam Precision Works™, Fryer Machine Systems™, Materion Brewster™, and Unilock™. COI Membership is available for those companies who practice in the, “legal manufacture of goods in Putnam County,” states COI Executive Vice President Harold King. For more information regarding membership opportunities please contact Harold King at 845.565.1355, or at For more information regarding the COI’s apprenticeship program please email Johnnieanne Hansen at

Putnam County’s available properties including Shovel-Ready and commercial land, tax incentives through the PEDC and Putnam IDA, easily- accessible corridors with proximity to surrounding cities, as well as proximity to Metro-North commuter rail lines Putnam has everything you need to establish your business here.

For more information call the Putnam EDC at 845.808.1021 to find out how the PEDC can work for you!