September 21 2020

MFG Day 2020: Local Manufacturing Outpaces All but 1 Sector for Growing Ranks of Young Workers

As the Capital Region celebrates Manufacturing Day Oct. 2, its manufacturing sector is growing its ranks of young workers faster than almost all other sectors, according to a Center for Economic Growth analysis U.S. Census Bureau QWI Explorer data.

Young Worker Growth

As a testament of manufacturing’s growing popularity in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA), its number of employed workers between 19 and 34 years old jumped 10.2 percent between 2015 and 2019. The only other major sector with a faster growth rate was health care and social assistance, at 11.1 percent. Meanwhile, several sectors, such as retail trade and construction, saw their ranks of young workers dwindle by 15.1 percent and 4.8 percent.

In 2019, employment in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA totaled 26,329 workers, with 29.7 percent of them being between 19 and 34 years old. Five years earlier, young workers had accounted for 27.6 percent of the sector’s workforce. No other sector in the metro saw a greater increase in its share of young workers than manufacturing.

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA manufacturing sector’s five-year young worker growth rate of 10.2 percent was faster than both the national and state averages of 8.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. Among New York’s dozen MSAs, only the Binghamton and Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara MSAs had faster growth rates of 15.6 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively.

Opportunities amid COVID-19

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many manufacturers demonstrated their essential nature by continuing to operate while most other businesses were forced to close their in-person, non-essential operations. And six months after the lockdown began, demand for talent remains strong in manufacturing. As of August and throughout the eight counties, there were 126 postings for production jobs, according to data from the New York State Department of Labor.

Several new training programs that are helping young workers enter or advance in manufacturing careers. CEG supports the following:

  • Hudson Valley Community College’s Manufacturing Technology Pathways Project, a short-term, stackable credential training program, or “boot camp,”
  • SUNY Schenectady’s Certified Production Technician(CPT) program, a certificate course that skills up incumbent workers who are looking to advance their career, or enhance the education of unemployed or underemployed persons with manufacturing backgrounds.
  • The Capital Region Manufacturing Intermediary Apprenticeship Program(MIAP) to assist local manufacturers in training workers for high-skill trades. Since this program launched in 2018, CEG has onboarded more than two dozen apprentices as local manufacturers such as Beech-Nut in Florida, Electrometrics in Johnstown, Espey Mfg. & Electronics Corp in Saratoga Springs, Greno Industries in Scotia, and Plug Power in Latham.
  • CEG’s Business Growth Solutions (BGS) offers technical services to help Capital Region manufacturers with optimal improvement, strategic growth, sustainability and energy efficiency, and technology acceleration.
  • SEMI’s Industry Approved Apprenticeship Program (IAAP), a first-of-its-kind program that will train 50 workers at GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Fab8 in skills demanded by the electronics industry.

Other new programs include Capital Region BOCES’ engineering technician program, which provides training for technical careers in engineers and has a curriculum that supports employment at GLOBAL FOUNDRIES. BOCES’s adult welding also trains students for careers in manufacturing.

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