Bead Industries Blog

Manufacturing jobs are available in CT, but young people need to fill them

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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.

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