Guest column: Manufacturing is 2nd largest industry sector

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Guest column by Kim Nelson

One of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce’s committees is the Chamber Business Education Collaborative (CBEC). As introduced in August, the CBEC will be sharing information monthly with readers that will include the career fields in our community, future trends within these industries and information about education, wages and growth in these fields. It is our goal to increase awareness of the amazing career fields and careers right here in our county. We hope to educate the readers on what types of skills and education is needed for those career types in hopes of helping local employers fill vacant positions and strengthening our local workforce.

Kim Nelson

To highlight “Manufacturing Month,” it is important to share what is happening in this sector. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has published a report that identified the dominance the manufacturing sector has in southeast Minnesota. The report focuses on the fact that manufacturing is the second largest industry sector in the region, making up 15.5% of the total number of jobs at 669 establishments and contributing over $2.4 billion dollars in payroll in 2020.

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It is important to recognize the need to continue providing a strong workforce due to the large presence of manufacturing in the region. Collaboration between industry partners and education is key to building the pipeline for the future. The Albert Lea school district, along with Riverland Community College, have developed initiatives to support the future of manufacturing. Some of the work includes industry visits, career and college fair participation, faculty collaboration and curriculum development that meets the industry needs for highly skilled technicians. These efforts will help fill labor demands in these high wage positions across the region.

Kim Nelson is a member of the Chamber Business Education Collaborative through the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.