Melissa Pahl, executive director of the Platteville Area Industrial Development Corp., spoke to Ed Wiegman’s Exploring Manufacturing & Construction and Product Development & Design classes at Platteville High School Jan. 15.
Wiegman sees a need for skilled workers in the area and wanted to give his students an opportunity to hear about some of those opportunities.
“Anytime students can hear the same thing but from someone else, it reinforces what I was telling them all semester,” said Wiegman.
Pahl works to attract employers to Platteville, but also works with Platteville’s current employers to keep them economically healthy. A challenge many area manufacturers are facing is a difficulty in finding qualified employees. Pahl maintains that there are many untrue stereotypes around careers in manufacturing.
During Pahl’s visit to Platteville High School she talked about many of the current “hot” jobs available in the area for manufacturers and in the skilled trades. She discussed electromagnetic technicians (often called maintenance techs), bricklayers, CNC operators and machinists. The students were very surprised to hear the starting salaries offered locally in these types of jobs.
The students also learned that while pursuing post-high-school education is valuable, many area manufacturers accept applications from people with no experience and provide on-the-job training. This can be a great option for someone while they save up money for school or for people who are unsure of what they want to study.
Pahl hopes to arrange an open house in the Industry Park later this year, so students and residents alike can get to know our local manufacturers and the many job opportunities right here in our back yards.