October is Manufacturing Month and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association is trying to spread the word that it's not your father's manufacturing career anymore.

While there are still positions in the manufacturing industry that are physically demanding and "dirty," the workforce is rapidly becoming populated with positions that require technical expertise and and problem solving skills as the industry quickly enters the digital age.

The manufacturing industry, as a result of becoming more digital, has become significantly cleaner and diverse over the past twenty years.

- Sarah Hartwick

Sarah Hartwick is the VP for Education and Workforce Policy for the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. She is in charge of bridging the gap between the manufacturing industry and Illinois students that would be a perfect fit for the workforce but might not even know about the opportunity that lies in the manufacturing world. She explains the mission of their organization very well during her interview with us here:

There's been quite a shift of opinion over the last decade or so about what the next step should be for a high school graduate. It used to be that if you didn't go onto a 4-year university and graduate with a degree, the opportunity to start a personally and financially rewarding career was slim to none. That definitely is not the case anymore.

With the average of a worker in the manufacturing industry approaching retirement age, they need to reload their workforce, and they need skilled workers to fill those positions.

This is why Sarah and her team are going around the state, with a stop at Rock Valley College later this week, to coordinate with local manufacturers and schools to connect businesses with some bright new prospects.

They have a collection of videos like these on their website from companies explaining what they look to benefit from their relationship with the Illinois Manufacturers' Association.

They are literally begging people to come work for them, it might be wise to listen.

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