Manufacturing. The Basics.

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It’s literally impossible to go one day without seeing something that has to do with the manufacturing industry. Whether it’s the shoes on your feet, the food in your pantry, the lighting in your home, the bed that you sleep on, the car that you drive, the cell phone that you’re glued to, or the building where you go to school or work (and every other imaginable thing/product that you come into contact throughout the day)… manufacturing is what makes it all happen so as to be there for you.

Keep in mind that no product gets created and made without people who:

  • Come up with the idea!
  • Design and plan the product
  • Design and plan how the product will be made
  • Obtain materials
  • Operate the equipment
  • Schedule, supervise and/or manage the work being done
  • Have the skills and training to make things happen
  • And so much more… SO MUCH MORE!

Regardless of whether you’re planning to go to college, directly to work, the military, haven’t decided yet, or just plain haven’t a clue about what you want to do… consider the following about the “Manufacturing” Career Cluster:



Manufacturing companies are hiring. A lot!


100s of thousands of jobs available right now, and not enough skilled and qualified people to fill those jobs!

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Manufacturing is a great industry for people who want to be self-employed...


Manufacturing is becoming increasingly affordable resulting in a tremendous number of manufacturing start-up companies; making everything from clothing to 3D printed prosthetic devices for amputees.



Manufacturing is having a comeback in the United States.

The best jobs remain in the US.

The boring, low skilled repetitive manufacturing jobs are being shipped overseas where labor is cheap. The great paying jobs that require skilled and talented people remain right here. In the US.

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Big money for some careers...


Salaries can easily reach into the 6 figures for skilled and qualified people.

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100s of career ideas to choose from ranging from skilled trades like welding and construction, to business, design or engineering!


You name it, there’s likely a career for that in manufacturing.

What do you think?

So, the question is… after reading a bit about the “Manufacturing” Career Cluster, do you think you might want to be a part of this industry?

If that’s a yes, or even a maybe, then check out the brief descriptions of the six “Pathways” in this cluster that are shown in the blue tab above titled “Pathways”; it’ll help you to learn more while you’re working toward making an educated and informed decision about whether this cluster is the right career direction for you.

What's Next?

Click the blue “Pathways” tab above to see what’s next.

FYI… We’ll talk about these “Pathways” more a little later in the course, in fact you’ll even be introduced to over 100+ careers, but for now just check out the brief descriptions below….


People who work in the “Production” pathway either create the parts needed to make products, or they assemble parts into products.

They work hands-on, with machines, computers and other technology to take raw materials and make something from those materials. From sneakers, to medicines, to airplanes… and everything in between. EVERYTHING!  Production is where the magic happens.

Creativity happens here in a big way.  People who work in this pathway are responsible for planning and designing products, as well as the design of the actual manufacturing process to create those products.  They figure out how the products will be made, what materials and systems will be needed to build a quality product, and they monitor the process to make sure everything goes as planned.

This Pathway is pretty much exactly what it sounds like; installing, maintaining and repairing the tools, equipment and machines as needed.  People working in this pathway…

  • Oversee the installation of manufacturing equipment.
  • Routinely perform preventative maintenance on machines, tools and equipment.
  • Troubleshoot and repair electrical, electronic and mechanical systems.
  • Maintain the computer records, maintenance and repair history for all equipment and machinery.

Quality Assurance is about making sure that things are done right, manufacturing procedures are followed, raw materials meet required specifications and finished products are made to the highest quality possible. If there are problems in production, the people in Quality Assurance might be asked to find the cause of the problem and come up with a solution.

This pathway is all about working with the inventory of raw materials for production, as well as the inventory of finished products that have been made. Workers unload trucks of raw materials, move those materials to the production floor, wrap pallets of finished products for shipment, and communicate with traffic managers to get the products to customers.

People in this pathway are responsible for the health and safety of the employees as well as the environment.  They’re responsible for:

  • Making sure that the equipment is being used safely in the workplace.
  • Planning for safety in any new production processes.
  • Investigating any health, safety and/or environmental incidents and hazards.
  • Making sure preventative health, safety and/or environmental processes and procedures are in place.
  • Implementing health, safety and/or environmental programs, projects, and policies.

Done checking out the "Pathways"? Click the blue "When You're Done" tab above.