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Creators Wanted: Manufacturing is Your Next Adventure

Colorado’s manufacturing industry is exploring a new frontier


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Adventure is Colorado’s heritage. That’s how many of us got here — men, women and children set out for a frontier entirely new to them, not knowing what they’d find. Even today, Coloradans strive to push themselves to new heights. Our young people especially want to be on the cutting edge of invention and exploration, to become the creators of a bright future for us all. And luckily, one industry is saying “creators wanted.” The National Association of Manufacturers 2019 State of Manufacturers’ Tour — which stopped in Colorado this month — is spreading the word: you can find adventure with us.

American manufacturing is barreling along today, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, adopting transformative technologies and ensuring the United States remains the world’s engine of innovation. But all too soon, this rosy situation could change. The manufacturing industry needs workers with big dreams, because within a decade, it could fall short of the labor force it needs by nearly 5 million workers.

This industry rewards workers with high-paying, decades-longs careers that are both safe and stimulating. Young people of all backgrounds and talents can find work in it, whether they have an organizational talent for supply chain management, the brilliance of a designer or the methodical mind of an engineer. But just as importantly, by becoming manufacturers, they will satisfy their hunger for adventure. 

The manufacturing industry of the 21st century will be as different from the 20th century manufacturing industry as a spaceship is from a wagon train. This is the industry that got us to another frontier — the moon — and that will build the crafts that take humanity to Mars and beyond someday. It is an industry transforming itself with new technology like robotics, 3-D printing and artificial intelligence. It will find cures for devastating diseases, create autonomous vehicles and keep our lights on with cleaner and more efficient fuel.

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce is proud to take part in the 2019 State of Manufacturing Tour. We’re proud to show off the industry leaders in our state, including Anheuser-Busch and other smaller manufacturing businesses. We want Coloradans to see how much strength manufacturers bring to the state’s economy and we want young people to think about making it even better, faster and stronger.

Manufacturers also need the support of political leaders all over the country, whom we are also meeting on this tour. On the national level, the industry needs to safeguard the regulatory and tax reforms that made our current economic boom possible and enabled manufacturers to hire more people and buy more equipment.

It’s been more than 200 years since the Louisiana Purchase made parts of what would become Colorado a part of the United States. Our young people need new challenges—but they don’t have to leave the state to find them. Manufacturers big and small offer plentiful opportunities to innovate and to build America’s economy.

To take just one recent example, two Coloradan companies are competing for NASA contracts to deliver scientific experiments to the moon. For example, Lockheed Martin, one of America’s biggest and best-established manufacturers, is working on projects here in Colorado that could help NASA deliver scientific experiments to the moon.

Manufacturers of all kinds are asking for creators of all kinds. If you’re looking for your next adventure, the time to sign up is now.

About Chuck Berry: Chuck Berry is president of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce.

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