Colorado’s Manufacturing Perception and the Facts

I had the pleasure of attending the Northern Colorado’s Manufacturing Partnership conference, NOCOM 2016, in April. This group formed three years ago with regional economic development colleagues alongside Front Range Community College in order to work together with the state’s manufacturers to help them thrive. The original meetings were with 20 public business support colleagues sitting amongst 10 manufacturing representatives to begin the conversation of needs. Today, due to the private sector stepping up to lead this initiative, there are over 150 manufacturers affiliated and every trade group and economic development group at their side supporting them. It is refreshing to see parochialism and competition out of site as progress and innovation is truly happening. Inside of NOCOM’s published handout there is a page on the stats for this industry. I will list a few below:

  • 2015 jobs in CO = 141,486
  • 2015 jobs in CO = 141,486
  • 2015 employers = 5,885
  • 2015 Average wage = $77,000
  • Manufacturing workers have the highest job security in the private sector
  • 72% have medical benefits
  • Manufacturers are responsible for almost ¾ of all private sector R&D
  • For every one manufacturing job there are 2.5 more jobs in local goods and services

Here is the disconnect, which by the way is a national issue not just one we fight locally;

  • 90% of Americans believe manufacturing is important for a strong national economy
  • But, only 37% of parents encourage their kids to enter manufacturing
  • 75% of Americans fear the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs to other nations
  • But, only 18% of people view manufacturing as a top career choice.

If you have children entering college soon, please encourage them to consider this discipline. Another way we can help move the manufacturing sector forward is to understand these misperceptions and facts and speak to your friends and family about this disconnect. Finally, stay involved in your schools and support this partnership so that our state can get back to making things in Colorado and bringing outside dollars into our Northern Colorado economy.

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