Career pathways - Explore engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology careers

Discover if you have an interest in this pathway and where the jobs are.

Do you like to work with your hands, building and fixing things? Would you describe yourself as practical and logical? Are you interested in studying science, drafting, robotics, woodworking or math? In your free time, do like to use technology, work on cars or mechanical things? If you answered yes to some of these questions, then a career in engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology might be right for you.

Occupations within the engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology career pathway involve designing, developing, installing and maintaining physical systems such as buildings, structures, machines and equipment.

Occupations in this career pathway, according to Michigan State University Extension, are as diverse as the physical systems they focus on. If you are interested in electricity, you could be an electrical assembler, technician, inspector, electrician, electrical designer or electrical engineer. Are you interested in construction and buildings? Become a carpenter, building inspector, equipment operator, architect or civil engineer. Do you like engines? Become a small engine mechanic, auto service technician or mechanical engineer.

Are there jobs in this career pathway? Michigan’s manufacturing industry continues to employ a large portion of the state’s population. According to Michigan’s Labor Market Information, in October 2013, manufacturing accounted for 13 percent of the state’s employment, growing 3.29 percent from a year ago. The automotive manufacturing rebound was the primary source of growth both in Michigan and nationwide. Nationwide, manufacturing produced 27,000 jobs in November 2013 with 7,000 being automotive and parts related.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) positions are also on the rise, especially in Michigan. According to Michigan Economic and Workforce Indicators and Insights, “between 2011 and 2012, high-tech jobs in Michigan expanded three times faster than the national growth rate, and outpaced the U.S. in every high-tech cluster. Michigan created 32,700 total high-tech jobs over this period; for a growth rate of 7.8 percent, compared to only 2.5 percent nationwide.” Furthermore, growth of STEM occupations in Michigan are projected to continue and even reach 13 percent by 2020.

Young people can meet this future demand by gaining skills today. Don’t know where to start? MSU Extension and National 4-H have many opportunities and educational resources  to help you explore this career pathway.

  • 4-H clubs provides young people ages 5-19 with informal hands-on experiential learning in a variety of project areas including aerospace, computers, small engines, electricity and robotics.
  • 4-H Exploration Days is a three day pre-college program held annually the third week of June on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU). Here, students can choose from over 200 different sessions ranging from small engines to beginning model rocketry.
  • Michigan 4-H Tech Wizards is a youth mentoring program focusing on STEM.
  • MSU 2nd Annual Science Festival is a free event for the whole family taking place April 1-6, 2014 on MSU’s campus.
  • National Youth Summit on Robotics will take place February 13-17 in Chevy Chase, Md., where teens across the nation will learn from experts in the field, tour robotic related businesses and take hands-on workshops.

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