Manufacturing is a growing industry in the Lakes of Northwest Iowa region. What many manufacturers will tell you, though, is that the tallest hurdle between them and growing is finding good people to fill open jobs.

That could be where you come in – if you have the right skills.

Don’t worry, though. You won’t have to walk in the factory or plant doors filled with all the knowledge you need to start working in manufacturing. Many of these employers are happy to train the right person.

However, there are a few skills you could demonstrate during the interview process that will put you at the front of the applicant pack.

The skills manufacturers want to see in potential employees

The manufacturing industry is continuing to shift toward what many in the business refer to as advanced manufacturing. This shift means the skills employers once looked for in new hires have changed.

Now, companies want to see in potential employees skills that relate to working well with automation, robots and computers. They are also looking for skills that humans can accomplish better than those same automated machines, robots and computers.

Companies want to see the following skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Ability to learn continually
  • Ability to adapt to change
  • Innovation
  • Data skills and digital analytics

So, let’s take a deeper look at those skills.

Critical thinking and problem-solving

Today’s manufacturing workforce needs to be skilled in working through and analyzing situations that arise when they come across problems, errors or inefficiencies. Employers want to know if a person can identify a problem, find solutions and make decisions on how to proceed.

Communication and collaboration

This industry requires teamwork – often lots of it. That means that when an employee is trying to solve problems or simply do their job, they are going to be working alongside others. Everyone has to be on the same page, communicating and collaborating with each other to make sure operations go smoothly and work efficiently.

Continuous learning, adaptability and innovation

We’ve already touched on the fact that manufacturing is changing. That means its workforce needs to be able to change with it. There will be many times when new skills or training will be required or changes to a way a plant operates.

For employees, that means they need to be good learners and open to the need to change with the industry.

Like the rest of the industry, employees also need to be ready to innovate on the job. If you can show an interviewer that you’re the innovative type of person who is ready to look ahead and find efficiencies, then there’s probably a job for you at a Northwest Iowa manufacturer.

Data and digital skills

Working alongside robots, computers and other automation machines means advanced manufacturing employees must know how to analyze data and have the digital skills necessary for working with that data.

Sometimes, that means knowing your way around computers and software – or being able to learn quickly. Other times, it’ll mean knowing how to look at data about performance, product quality, safety and other operation-related issues.

The Lakes of Northwest Iowa region relies on manufacturing

Manufacturing employers are a critical component of the economy in the Lakes of Northwest Iowa area. They are our region’s number one employer and provide many great jobs that can turn into fulfilling careers.

Our communities have many prominent employers in the manufacturing sector. For many of them, it’s not a matter of keeping busy, it’s a matter of finding new employees to help them take on more work and keep thriving. They’re just looking for the right people with the right skills.

How to find Northwest Iowa manufacturing jobs

Finding manufacturing jobs in the Lakes of Northwest Iowa area – or the broader region – isn’t too much of a challenge if you are willing to put in a little research and leg work. While some jobs may require some previous certifications or training, many employers will gladly welcome the right person on board and train them on the job.

Browse our list of featured employers to find jobs in manufacturing. Not interested in manufacturing? We have many employers in a variety of industries here.

There are so many opportunities for you to Get A Lakes Life. Start exploring today!

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