LancasterThrivingSummerFall2017 - 16
BUSINESS: BUSINESS PRIORITIES
jobs. And that it might not take a four-year degree to start a
"Technical skill attainment and industry credentials have
become the prominent pathways to securing livable wages,"
says Fleming, who the Lancaster Chamber co-hosted for a
speech in February. "21st century employers want to know
what you can do, and what you can do well, not just what
degree hangs on your wall."
Steve Fanning graduated in 2005 from a local high school.
He says he learned all about manufacturing from his father,
but that none of his teachers ever promoted a career in the
industry. Many of his classmates followed into a four-year
college, where he chose to start a career working with his
"I was probably one of the only ones (in the class) who
realized what was out here," he recalls. "It was always: fouryear college." The perception of the students doing "techy
stuff" was not positive.
So manufacturers are elbowing in to middle and high
schools to deliver their message-and they are finding
receptive audiences among educators. Companies like
Flex-Cell and High Concrete Group, LLC, host teachers
and guidance counselors-who receive professional
development credits for the visit-so they can experience
first-hand what today's skilled jobs look like. And they will
open their doors to the public as part of Manufacturing
Week in October (see sidebar).
They want educators, parents and students to realize
the diversity of jobs available-in just one industry, right
here. For example, the US Department of Labor estimates
16 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Summer/Fall2017
employment of machinists (12 percent), industrial
machinery mechanics (22 percent) and mechanical
engineering technicians (9 percent) to surge over the next
five to seven years.
"So, all these parents who tell their kids, 'go into
engineering,'-you only need so many engineers, you only
need so many programmers" Schaum says. "But we need a
lot of operators. And operators make very nice livings, they
have great benefits, great work schedules, all of that."
Fanning and Schaum are optimistic that educators are
gaining a better understanding of where the jobs are. They
just hope the new awareness pays dividends in time to
bolster their industry.
"When are all of these jobs going to be filled in Lancaster?"
Schaum worries. "When are they going to have to go
somewhere else?" LT
BY ADAM AURAND,
Director of Marketing and Public Relations,
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
Contact Adam at: