Eastern Iowa manufacturing jobs ripe for the taking - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowa manufacturing jobs ripe for the taking


Eastern Iowa's manufacturing industry has so many open positions, companies can't fill them quickly enough.

That has prompted Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) in Peosta to team up with Southwestern Wisconsin Technical College. The two created the Tri-State Advanced Manufacturing Center for Excellence. It will help train and pair skilled workers with the abundance of manufacturing jobs available locally.

This week, NICC announced the appointment of the center's director, Randy Schofield, who is currently an advanced manufacturing instructor at NICC's Peosta campus.

He said there are hundreds of jobs available in the Dubuque area right now, and they pay well.

"We have 21-, 22-year-old people out there in the workforce that went through a one-year program that are making $50,000 or $60,000 a year," Schofield said.

It was the job availability that drew student Titus Fair to NICC's advanced manufacturing program. After an injury in Iraq sent the former Marine back to Iowa, Fair first enrolled in NICC's heating and air conditioning program.

"I looked for a job for six months, and I was unsuccessful in finding a job," Fair said, "so I decided to come back and go to the CNC program."

Fair returned to NICC's Peosta campus to gain advanced manufacturing skills and train as a computer numerical control (CNC) machinist technician.

"The manufacturing and CNC jobs are booming in this area right now," Fair said.

Schofield said the advanced manufacturing jobs available right now include "welders and machinists and engineers and all throughout manufacturing, really."

He said the high job availability has to do with an aging existing workforce.

"A lot of the machinists and the welders and the manufacturing people are getting older, and there is work coming back from countries," he said. "When I first started out, we worked for companies that sent work over to other countries, and now some of that work is coming back."

Fair and Schofield both said these are good jobs with benefits.

In exploring different opportunities, Schofield said he found jobs that offered, "anywhere from $38,000 to $60,000 that first year on the job, so it's pretty good."

For Fair, it's now a matter of swimming in opportunities.

"Right now, it's such a high demand for CNC. I recommend this to anybody looking for a job," he said.

Fair said he's now deciding between two job offers.

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