Manufacturing Day shows students local career opportunities

Nov. 24—PLATTSBURGH — For the past four decades ETS has been helping people find jobs, businesses fulfill staffing needs and providing valuable consulting to area businesses. Filling the needs of the local manufacturing scene is a pleasure for them to work on.

"We're a huge hub for manufacturing and it's only growing," Amber Douglass, vice president for strategic strategies at ETS, said.

"We alone at ETS have over 200 jobs open right now in the manufacturing field that I know, and every single one of these employers can speak to that as well. So it's still growing and they are still looking for people."


To help match employers with much needed staffers, ETS helped put together the recent 10th Annual North Country Manufacturing Day at Clinton Community College. The event drew nearly 700 students from area schools who had a chance to see about two dozen displays and interactive exhibits from local manufacturers participating in the event.

With the event being opened to ninth and tenth graders as well as juniors and seniors for the first time, it was the largest crowd ever.

Douglass said such a showcase is the perfect way to bridge the gap between employers needing staff and those seeking jobs.

"This started because we wanted to give students the opportunity to explore the manufacturing careers in industries that are right here in their own backyard," she said.

"We wanted to give them the ability to see that you can have a great career right here and there's so many pathways to do it. You can graduate from high school and enter the workforce right away, you can go to college for two years and then go into manufacturing or you can go to a four-year school."


The event allowed students to explore and get hands-on and interactive with the things that are being created in the area, Douglass explained.

"Not only that, it's great to see all the manufacturers come out and support each other," she said.

"Manufacturers come out and they like it, and it is just really is a good supportive show of community. They want the industry to prosper and grow, and this was one of the ways that we wanted to tell them."

Douglass said the manufacturing sector of the North Country is seeing the highest periods of business they have ever seen, which means great opportunities for young people about to enter the workforce.

"You're seeing the best benefits we have ever seen. They (students) can graduate high school and start out making $20 an hour right now. So yes, it's pretty incredible," she said.


As the region, state, nation and world continue to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted everyone for the past two-plus years, filling staffing needs has been a challenge for so many.

ETS continues to work on meeting those needs.

"It's definitely been very interesting the last year with everything that has gone on. I think the overall consensus is that it's still very hard to find people," Douglass said.

"We've definitely seen a shift where it's getting a bit easier. and we're starting to see more people back at work and maybe shifting their career for new jobs."

Douglass said they hope to see the trend of filling jobs continue. The fact that most manufacturing jobs offer good pay and attractive benefits should be a good drawing card.

"I still think it's definitely a challenge right now to get enough people to continue to reach the goals that they all have set," she said.


The Manufacturing Day event ETS helped host, along with other efforts they put forth and promotions by the North Country Chamber of Commerce and others, are critical in spreading the word of all the bright opportunities that exist in the region.

"There are lot of kind of hidden gems that you don't know about. Until you know, you're kind of forced to learn about it," Douglass said.

"So again, this is another reason why this event is so important."


Twitter: @jlotemplio