Northland Community and Technical College students show high school students the ropes, providing them with instruction and the opportunity to get hands-on experience with real welding at the Fourth Annual Manufacturing Day at Lincoln High School.

A total of 225 tudents from Thief River Falls and seven other Northwest Minnesota school districts participated in the Fourth Annual Manufacturing Days at Lincoln High School on October 14 and 15. Organizer Mike Sorteberg with Ericco Manufacturing is enthusiastic about Manufacturing Days because it helps students from the region gain a better understanding of career opportunities close to home.

Part of the reason Sorteberg and others continue to support Manufacturing Day at Lincoln High School is that students from Northwest Minnesota are more likely to stay in the region for the long term. “My experience is when we hire people from outside the area, they will come in and do a great job, but after a couple of years, they leave for a job closer to home,” Mike said. “When you have someone whose family is from the area, that’s going to play into long-term retention.”

Manufacturing careers are good careers that pay a family supporting wage. In the next couple of years, Ericco Manufacturing will be hiring skilled people, tool and die people, and programming people. There is high demand for workers in these positions. Sorteberg said that they are starting programmers at $25/hour plus full benefits, and it goes up from there. Ericco Manufacturing isn’t the only employer looking for skilled labor. He said, “a lot of the manufacturing facilities in the area are actually sponsoring students to go to school and come back and spend time with them. Manufacturers will pay for schooling if students will agree to come back and work at the company.”

Most manufacturing jobs do not require a four-year degree for a good career. Sorteberg said “you can get a two-year degree and start the next day. Many have jobs before they even graduate.”

Participating students got to do some welding and learned about advanced manufacturing technologies and automation. They also got to tour the Northern Woodwork Inc. facility.

The event was sponsored by Ericco Manufacturing, North Dakota State College of Science, Northland Community and Technical College, Arctic Cat, Northern Woodwork Inc., and Lincoln High School.

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