by Bob Zaruta, President/CEO, NWIRC
For generations, people have associated the month of October with Columbus Day, Halloween, and of course Octoberfest. Most would agree that these days and events represent important history and meaningful traditions while offering a time to reflect, acknowledge, salute and celebrate. For the past 5 years, a serious and successful effort has been underway to bring attention in the month of October to something else that is, not only rich in meaningful history and tradition, but that will also play a significant role in growing our economy, improving our communities, and helping future generations to thrive. That something is manufacturing.
October 1–7, 2016 is Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week, part of a nationwide celebration designed to change people’s perceptions of manufacturing today, draw attention to the amazing career opportunities available in a variety of sectors, and educate the public on the significant impact manufacturing has on the economy. Pennsylvania has a deep history and rich legacy in manufacturing — it has long been the foundation for the state’s economy. Today, manufacturing has an $85 billion impact on Pennsylvania’s economy – the 8th largest output in the United States. Manufacturing also employs over a half million workers in Pennsylvania, from a highly skilled labor force of more than 6.5 million that’s educated at nearly 300 educational institutions across the state. And those hard-working Pennsylvanians earn an average annual wage of $63,752 – which is 15% higher than the average salary across the state. In addition to above average wages, manufacturing offers exciting and challenging careers where innovation, advanced technologies, and human ingenuity play critical roles.
The NWIRC is proud to be a resource and support manufacturers in our 13 counties of northwest and north central Pennsylvania. Every day, we help manufacturers address their most pressing problems, improve their competitiveness, and grow profitably. For national Manufacturing Day and PA Manufacturing Week, we will have a part in helping to bring hundreds of high school students and local manufacturing companies together for company visits and tours. Hundreds of other events and tours will be held throughout the week across the Commonwealth, including the Manufacturers and Business Associations’ Mfg Day event on October 5th. All of these venues give Pennsylvanians the opportunity to visit and learn more about local manufacturers. I especially encourage students, parents, grandparents, teachers, and guidance counselors to take part and to learn what today’s manufacturing is, and what it is not.
NWIRC salutes all manufacturers for being the backbone of our state and national economies. Be sure to pause, reflect, acknowledge all that you do, and celebrate your contributions and successes. Lastly, a special note of appreciation to our regional manufacturers who are opening their doors in October during Manufacturing Week to engage the next generation of talent.