Manufacturers Hiring: Creators Wanted

October 25, 2021


Take our word for it: Manufacturers are hiring. Companies like ours, along with thousands of others across the country, are building the workforce of tomorrow and aggressively recruiting to fill millions of well-paying, highly rewarding jobs.

Put another way, we’re saying, “Creators Wanted.” That’s the name of the manufacturing industry’s largest nationwide workforce campaign, which is touring the country to showcase modern manufacturing careers.

There are many paths into a successful manufacturing career. Some jobs include robotics, digital controls and analytics. Other roles help to solve logistical issues to enhance process efficiency. And creators make products that change the quality of life and make the world a better place.

Our companies have openings available for people with every level of educational attainment and prior experience — and we pay well, too. In 2019, the average South Carolina manufacturing employee earned more than $76,000 in pay and benefits, compared with a $43,000 average across all industries. With many opportunities for upward mobility and continuing education, manufacturing careers provide lifelong job security and rewarding work, along with competitive health care and retirement benefits.

At Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp., for example, we expect to fill up to 500 jobs over the next year, and we’re constantly welcoming interns and apprentices into our ranks. We also provide pharmaceutical certification programs to give high-school students a foot in the door.

And Trane Technologies was recently named one of the Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production by Fortune and Great Place to Work®. Our state-of-the art Trane plant in Columbia currently employs more than 1,200 people, and we continue to hire, grow and develop talent each year. Our employees work with purpose, helping to solve for some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges and innovating for a healthier planet.

Even though we continue to ramp up hiring, we know there’s more to be done: Research by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (where both of us serve as board members), shows that our industry as a whole will have to fill more than 4 million jobs by the end of the decade — and 2.1 million of those jobs may go unfilled. A major reason more young people aren’t flocking to these jobs is because many still have outdated perceptions about manufacturing, not realizing that it is a high-tech industry.

Creators Wanted is all about showcasing that modern reality. That’s why Nephron and Trane Technologies are proud participants in the campaign, in addition to opening our shop floors year after year to provide young people, families and educators with firsthand exposure to how manufacturers create the many household products and advanced technologies that power our economy.

And Creators Wanted live is a continuation of those efforts. The tour provides access to manufacturing leaders who can provide career guidance and other insights, along with a traveling, immersive experience in which participants work together to solve problems, using some of the same technologies they might find on a modern shop floor. It will debut in Columbia at Nephron Pharmaceuticals and will follow a rigorous set of COVID-19 safety protocols.

This mobile experience is just one part of a comprehensive plan to show people the possibilities awaiting them in modern manufacturing and to provide resources to help them launch a career in the industry. Creators Wanted is so much more than a “help- wanted” ad. It’s an invitation to start an exciting future as one of the people who makes things in America.

Lou Kennedy is president, CEO and owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp., headquartered in West Columbia. Mike Lamach is executive chair of Trane Technologies. Both are board members of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).