Minnesota Opinion: Manufacturing is important in west central Minnesota

Forum News Service Minnesota's second largest industry is manufacturing, and (west central Minnesota) is a good representative of that statistic. Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Oct. 1-10 to be Minnesota Manufacturers Week (though it's longer than a ...

Forum News Service

Minnesota’s second largest industry is manufacturing, and (west central Minnesota) is a good representative of that statistic.

Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed Oct. 1-10 to be Minnesota Manufacturers Week (though it’s longer than a week), supporting the more than 311,000 manufacturing jobs in the state.

Manufacturing is clearly important to this area - (Willmar Manufacturing, Buhler Industries Inc, Nova-Tech Engineering, Bobcat Co., Towmaster Trailer, Inc., Case IH, Lorenz Manufacturing Co., MarrValve Company, The Specialty Manufacturing Co., SL Montevideo Technology, Inc., and Daktronics) - just to name a few.

Manufacturing contributes $43.7 billion to the state’s economy. This output represents 16 percent of Minnesota’s gross domestic product and accounted for nearly $20 billion in state exports in 2013.


“Minnesota’s strong manufacturing sector makes a significant contribution to our economy. Manufacturing supports thousands of well-paying jobs,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Manufacturing week reminds us of the economic power of Minnesota’s manufacturers and the workforce that powers them.”

(Minnesota universities and colleges) and area high schools have worked together to encourage students and inform students of manufacturing career opportunities whether that means job shadowing opportunities, tours or specialized curriculum. (Some Chamber of Commerces have) also helped with the tour of manufacturing where area students tour manufacturing businesses within the county.

Plant tours of manufacturing facilities around the state and speakers and educational activities are planned throughout October in recognition of Minnesota Manufacturers Week.

“Manufacturing accounts for one in nine jobs in the state, and supports nearly two additional jobs elsewhere in the economy,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “Manufacturers are key to the overall health and growth of Minnesota, and educational events happening throughout the state this week will inform potential workers of exciting careers in the industry that pay family sustaining wages.”

Minnesota State-Moorhead has worked to have custom mobile trailers outfitted to teach specific jobs, like welding. This summer, the college was planning to add three more trailers that will host equipment for commercial driver’s license training; electrical, construction and manufacturing safety instruction, as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification; and precision measurement and blueprint reading, catered specifically for use in the manufacturing industry.

Those working in manufacturing include foods, computer and electronic products, fabricated metal products and machinery. Salaries in the sector are much higher than most other industries in the state because many manufacturing jobs require high-tech skills to operate advanced technology and computer-controlled equipment.

The average manufacturing position in the state paid $61,048 last year. This is roughly $10,000 more than the typical job in Minnesota.

Many of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies are manufacturers, including General Mills, Medtronic, 3M, Ecolab and Hormel.


This week, Dream It, Do It is hosting tours of various manufacturing businesses throughout the state. The list is available at . Some of the closest tours include Villard, Glenwood andSt. Cloud,.

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