Manufacturing jobs are available in CT, but young people need to fill them
When Jill Mayer graduated from high school in 1999, career options felt more limited than what she sees available to today’s 18-year-olds. There was a “stigma,” Mayer said, “that if you don’t get a college degree you’re not going to be able to make good money and have a long career.”
But she likes to think that’s changing. Mayer, 40, now runs her family’s Milford-based manufacturing business, Bead Industries, and she recently took the helm as president of industry group ManufactureCT. In both roles, she puts a lot of energy into cultivating the manufacturing sector’s next generation of workers and leaders.
“Kids today are smartening up, saying, ‘Look, I don’t have to go to college to be super successful,’” Mayer said. “I wouldn’t say we’re all the way there, there’s a long way to go on that, but at least there’s awareness behind it.”
Building that “awareness” among young people is vital for the future of Connecticut manufacturing. After a half-century of decline in the sector, local, state and federal lawmakers are working to revive Connecticut’s industrial base. But without a next-generation workforce to feed those green shoots, they could dry up.