The Manufacturing cluster uses your skills in planning and organization along with your love of technology, engineering and design to work in careers processing materials into products. Careers also include related professional and technical support activities such as production planning, production design, maintenance, and engineering.
The employment of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is expected to grow. These workers will be needed to help repair our nation’s aging infrastructure, including bridges, highways, and buildings. New power generation facilities and natural gas pipelines also are being built, which will increase the need for these professionals. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters should see even better job prospects also. More machinists and tool and die makers also will be needed in the coming years. Overall, the manufacturing industry is facing a major skills gap due to the retirement of older workers. Applicants who are trained in manufacturing skills should have better job prospects.
Produced by: Stuart’s Draft High School, Augusta County Public Schools
Employment Projections: 2016-2026*
The Manufacturing cluster, which employed nearly 264,600 Virginians in 2016, is expected to employ over 3,200 more Virginia workers in 2026, for a total of 267,800. This represents about 1 percent positive growth in this cluster in Virginia. Nationally, a 1 percent decline in employment in this cluster is expected over the decade. The Manufacturing cluster is the only cluster projected to experience negative average growth at the national level, according to Trailblazers analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
*NOTE: The methodology for classifying occupations within the cluster/pathway system has been updated since the previous data cycle (2014-24), so 2016-26 Trailblazers employment projection data may not be comparable to data from previous cycles.
For more information on occupations in the Manufacturing Cluster, visit Trailblazers – Career and Technical Education in Virginia (PDF).
|Selected Occupation(s)||Employed in Virginia
|2017 Median Wage||Predominant Level of Education|
|First-Line Supervisors of Production and
|12,638||$61,690||High School Diploma & Work experience|
|Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers||7,671||$45,430||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders||6,554||$29,380||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Maintenance and Repair Workers,
|32,778||$38,320||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Machinists||6,463||$47,180||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|First-Line Supervisors of
Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers
|13,938||$68,410||High School Diploma & Work experience|
|Industrial Machinery Mechanics||9,175||$50,230||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers||9,057||$36,770||High School Diploma & Training/Certification|
|Production, Planning, and
|8,654||$50,300||Associate/Some college & Training/Certification|
|Electrical and Electronics
- Wage data: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2017.
- Employment projections data: Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Long-Term Occupational Projections, 2016-2026.
- Predominant education level: Trailblazers through the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
Career Cluster Planning
A resource for counselors, administrators, and educators
CTE Administrative Planning Guide (APG) – includes information to help local school divisions plan and schedule instructional programs. The APG is organized by career clusters, with a complete listing of courses, concentration sequences, and credentials available to students as they plan for career entry and continuing education. Users may access course information by cluster or by searching for specific courses or certifications.
Career Planning Guide – includes an easy way for students and counselors to look for courses to further career goals. One can search for occupations, browse by Career Clusters or favorite academic subjects.
Information and tips for instructional leaders, administrators, counselors and teachers/faculty for creating a career pathway academic and career plan of study.
Sample Academic and Career Plans of Study
School divisions are asked to develop sample plans of study based on the courses offered within their schools, the employment needs of the region, and the post-high school educational opportunities needed for these careers. Once these sample plans are developed, they can be customized to the needs of individual students so that all students have the opportunity to have an individualized academic and career plan of study.
Sample Pathway Plans of Study for Manufacturing:
- Health, Safety & Environmental Assurance (Word)
- Logistics Inventory Control (Word)
- Maintenance, Installation & Repair (Word)
- Manufacturing Production Process Development (Word)
- Production (Word)
- Quality Assurance (Word)
- Blank Plan of Study (with fields) (Word)
Also see Sample Plans of Study for all clusters and pathways.
Report: Education, Employment and Earnings: Analyzing Data from Manufacturing
Cluster Analysis Document for Virginia
Current research relative to employment sectors and information on occupation supply and demand. The information is presented in two formats: a summary brief and a detailed report.
Nontraditional Careers: Occupational and Employment Information
- Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation
- American Apparel and Footwear Association
- Virginia Manufacturers Association
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.