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Manufacturing & Product Design

Is This Pathway right for you?

Pathway Overview

From cars to contact lenses, lipstick to bicycles this industry sector creates some of the best products and highest paying skilled jobs in the workforce. While some manufacturing jobs are declining, high-tech manufacturing is hard at work creating products to solve many of today’s most challenging problems. Because robots and automation take care of the repetitive work, today’s manufacturing employees have more challenging and interesting job assignments

Quick Look

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Is a career in Manufacturing & Product Design right for you?

Today’s advanced manufacturing bears little resemblance to the production lines of the past. Manufacturing has moved from manual equipment to highly computerized equipment and innovative processes like 3-D printing.

Employers are looking for people who have math skills and a grasp of how their complicated equipment works. They are looking for technicians at ease in the mechanical world, able to apply scientific and technical principles to structures and manufacturing processes.

Many of California’s Community Colleges prepare students for high-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing.

3 Main Points

1. The fast pace of innovation in manufacturing is creating a lot of opportunities in new areas like space exploration, 3D printing and biotechnologies to name a few. In fact, U.S. manufacturers lead the world in innovation and new technologies.

2. Advances in manufacturing are making the world a better place to live and creating good paying jobs. These jobs have great opportunities for advancement and many are waiting to be filled.

3. What’s more, manufacturing underpins a broad range of jobs that are quite different from the usual image of manufacturing. These are higher skill jobs in basic research and technology development, product and process engineering and design, operations and maintenance, transportation, testing, and lab work.

Important Skills

 Critical Thinking


 Problem Solving

 Collaborative Ability

 Ability to Adapt and Continue to Learn

 Technical Ability



The Future of Manufacturing

The World Economic Forum's Future of Manufacturing project tracks how the global manufacturing ecosystem is evolving. This five-minute investigation explores the future of industry and asks does manufacturing really matter? Leading manufacturers and policymakers discuss human capital, currency volatility, labor rate arbitrage and the potential of advanced manufacturing. The Future of Manufacturing project identifies what companies and countries must do to win in a rapidly changing world.

Moving Into the Middle Class by Making Things

There's no arguing the facts: Manufacturing, in California, is a huge element of the state's economy. According to the state's Employment Development Department, there are more than 1.2 million people working in the industry.


Manufacturing Career Paths and Career Ladders


Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies

The California Community College System provides many advancing manufacturing career pathways for students, some of which are only available in California. Here are some examples of established career pathways. The CACT web site has great articles about manufacturing, from “The Importance of Manufacturing” to a list of Career Pathways and much more

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Manufacturing Videos

iSeek has a dozen videos on specific manufacturing careers that might be of interest to students. The site also has helpful links to Manufacturing education planning and career pathways.

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