CLINTON — Manufacturing remains the top industry for the Clinton- area workforce and those employed in that field are increasingly more educated, a new report from the Iowa Workforce Development office shows.
“The industry demands an education,” Clinton Community College Academic and Career Service Advisor Marcus Harris said.
Clinton Regional Development Corp. officials commissioned the Iowa Workforce Development office to gather information about the area workforce, also known as the laborshed, in December and January. The laborshed consists of a 50-mile radius in Illinois and Iowa from which the Clinton area draws it workforce.
The number of people employed in the manufacturing industry in the Clinton area laborshed increased from 34,922 in 2010 to 38,719 in the latest study. People surveyed who identified in the manufacturing field account for 22 percent of the laborshed. Those employees have spent more time getting an education than in years past. According to the study, 11.8 percent of the manufacturing workforce has an associates degree, 3.3 percent more than the same group in 2010.
Manufacturers saw the same increase in employees who had some level of education beyond high school. Additionally, the number of those employed in the manufacturing field who had an undergraduate degree or higher also increased slightly from 17 percent to 17.6 percent.
Harris said he’s seen an influx of students who want to enter the manufacturing industry after completing their degrees at CCC. The most popular program for students trying to obtain a career in manufacturing is mechatronics, which trains them to be highly skilled electromechanical and electronics maintenance technicians.
“When the economy was at a standstill for a moment we saw an increase in students. We definitely saw a change in the number of students coming for manufacturing industries and interested in the mechatronics program,” Harris said.
According to CCC President Karen Vickers, the electronics program was revamped within the last decade to become the mechatronics program after area industry leaders made suggestions about what qualities they were looking for in employees.