Clearing up misconceptions of manufacturing

To the Editor:

I recently participated in a focus group of manufacturers held here in Roseville. The group was part of Enterprise Minnesota’s statewide annual State of Manufacturing survey, and the conversation sparked some thoughts about the misconceptions of our industry. Namely, that manufacturing jobs are dying, dirty, or don’t require much skill.

Reality couldn’t be more different!

The majority of our state’s manufacturers are small and mid-sized companies like Artistic Finishes. Our employees use skill and an eye for detail to produce custom floor moldings and accessories. Their skills range from hand-crafted color blending artistry to operating complex equipment and technologies.

Manufacturing isn’t a dying industry. It provides challenging and varied careers, good wages and is the second-largest share of Minnesota’s GDP. At Artistic Finishes, workers cross-train to learn new skills to advance. Employees are encouraged to bring ideas that improve the quality of products and efficiencies.

We are just one example, yet we illustrate the fact that Minnesota’s manufacturing is thriving because of our people’s creativity and work ethic. While a university degree is a path we should continue encouraging (manufacturers employ college grads), we can’t let students think that it’s the only path to meaningful work.

The tenth annual State of Manufacturing results — based on the Roseville focus group and others, plus an in-depth survey of manufacturing executives — will be released May 17. I encourage everyone to read the results and learn about the perceptions, opinions, challenges and opportunities manufacturers face in order to remain job-creating engines in our communities.

Michel Moinichen, Director of HR, Artistic Finishes, Inc., Roseville

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