Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


Why manufacturing is important

There is a perception among some that manufacturing is not a desirable career, but the truth is it's one of the fastest growing industries, both in skilled and non-skilled jobs. The Columbus Region is home to 1,800 manufacturing establishments that make everything from helmets to ice cream and boast 80,000 employees in manufacturing-related careers. Columbus manufacturers experienced a 36-percent increase in work productivity between 2001 and 2013, proving that the industry is becoming more technology driven, and our area's manufacturing workforce is talented and hardworking.

However, 67 percent of U.S. manufacturers report a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers-leaving high quality jobs on the table. Manufacturers have the highest job tenure in the private sector and 90 percent of manufacturing workers have medical benefits. Manufacturing jobs also pay more. In 2012, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,505 annually, including pay and benefits. The average worker in all industries earned $62,063. In the Columbus Region, manufacturing salaries are 23 percent higher than the average for all other industries. For those seeking a lucrative career that provides a variety of career paths, manufacturing is the answer.

Manufacturing in the Columbus Region

The Region has proven itself as an ideal spot for manufacturing success. Goods made in the Columbus Region are easily transported to domestic and international markets via the Region's multi-modal logistics infrastructure, reaching 45 and 33 percent of the U.S. and Canadian populations, respectively, and 44 percent of the U.S. manufacturing capacity within a 10-hour drive. Export opportunities for Region manufacturers include Cargolux and Cathay Pacific's cargo flights between Columbus and Hong Kong, and a number of export resources from counseling to financing also exist for Region manufacturers.

For companies looking to expand or relocate, the Columbus Region offers a competitive tax structure, and Ohio is ranked No. 3 for lowest effective tax rate on both new capital-intensive manufacturing operations and new labor-intensive manufacturing operations. Additionally, the Region offers greater value for industrial space than peer metros like Chicago, Dallas and Indianapolis.

What's being done to fill the gap

Throughout the month of October, Columbus 2020 and economic development partners will focus on touting the benefits of manufacturing as a career. As part of that effort, companies throughout the state are opening their doors to high school students and the public to give them a firsthand look at the types of jobs available. Companies interested in getting involved are encouraged to visit for more information.

In addition to job opportunities, it's important to note the resources available in the Columbus Region to effectively train tomorrow's workforce. Tencareer and technical schools offer industrial vocational training, such as the cutting edge programs at RAMTEC (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative), and several four-yearcolleges and universitiesoffer degrees in manufacturing, including The Ohio State University's nationally ranked production/operations program.

The proof that manufacturing is a viable, growing career opportunity is present-evidenced by the number and types of jobs available, as well as the ideal business climate created through a strategic infrastructure system and competitive tax structure. This month, join the Columbus Region's economic development partners in shedding light on these positives and helping to steer bright minds to fulfilling careers that will keep them in the Buckeye State.

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Kenny McDonald is chief economic officer with Columbus 2020. Columbus 2020 serves as the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region, with a missionto generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth throughout Central Ohio.