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Manufacturing Careers Expo highlights need for more industry workers in Austin

The manufacturing industry fared well during the pandemic, but now companies need more workers to sustain growth.

AUSTIN, Texas — This week, Austin Community College will host a Manufacturing Careers Expo highlighting the industry's growth and need for more workers at every level.

"It's been a real hard time getting people to understand what manufacturing is all about," Laura Marmolejo said.

Marmolejo leads ACC's Manufacturing Program, including partnerships with industry leaders and associations to promote the growth. 

"For example, I worked in manufacturing for 10 years and, you know, if I wanted to be a planner and work with purchasing, I could do that. If I wanted to eventually get into management, I could do that. If I wanted to deal with projects and work on project-based activities, then I could do that as well," Marmolejo said, highlighting the variety of opportunities.

On Thursday and Saturday, ACC will host a Manufacturing Careers Expo connecting students and the public with manufacturing companies operating in and around Austin, such as Samsung, Tesla and BAE Systems.

RELATED: Multiple jobs in high-demand in Central Texas

"Manufacturers recognize that they have to do some out-of-the-box thinking on ways to attract talent," Ed Latson, who heads up the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association, said. "We have some of the most advanced facilities in the world right here – highly automated, very technical. People on the factory floor are usually operating machines or ensuring that those machines are operating effectively. But off the factory floor, within the same building, there's finance, there's marketing, there's sales and business development."

Latson added jobs are needed at every experience level in many instances.

RELATED: LIST: Manufacturing jobs hiring in the Austin area

"You can go through one of these rapid training programs, get some basic skills and get training," Latson said. "What's great about manufacturers is they intend to keep training you and giving you more skills as you work."

This week's expo will also help highlight ACC's new IMPACT Lab, which will provide increased hands-on opportunities for students on the manufacturing track.

RELATED: Texas manufacturing growth reflects optimism pandemic may soon come to a close

"There are so many programs that are really assisting people with getting the skills they need to succeed across several programs that are geared towards high school students or people out of high school looking to get rapid training into the industry or even maybe more advanced degrees like an associate's level," Latson said.

"We want to be able to support entrepreneurs that are able to utilize some of our equipment, which they wouldn't be able to afford as an individual," Marmolejo said.

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