Factory jobs aren’t the same as they were at the start of the last century.

A look at today’s modern and safe manufacturing and industrial production jobs was presented Friday by Ellwood Group Inc. representatives to junior class and STEM students at Mohawk, Wilmington, Lincoln in Ellwood City, and Riverside high schools as part of Manufacturing Day. Observed on the first Friday in October, the day’s events urge students to consider modern manufacturing careers.

Human Resource director Dawn Chaffee, Jeremy Lewis and Hope Vaccaro visited Mohawk and Wilmington Danielle Book, human resources director of Ellwood Forge and Joy Bender visited Lincoln and Riverside high schools.

The students viewed a video showcasing the Ellwood Group’s productions and part of the recent $75 million expansion. Students and their parents were invited to tour the facility to learn more. Mohawk guidance counselor Amy Lutz, who will set up these visits, also reminded students they will need a “job shadow” experience and this could be it. 

In the next decade, it is estimated that manufacturers will need to fill 4.6 million high-skill, high tech and high paying jobs.

A high school graduate, who comes to work at Ellwood, Lewis said, will have the opportunity to make $28.71 per hour doing a variety of jobs.

“Manufacturing jobs are critical to the world.” Lewis said. “There are a lot of opportunities and factories are safer, more precise and efficient than ever before.”

He said the work is challenging but rewarding. In time and with training, he said, students of today could expect to command salaries of $45,000 to $75,000.

“You don’t need a college degree but you do need a high school diploma or GED,” he said. “You must be able to read proficiently and do math, show up for work when you are scheduled, and, because we do government contracts, you must pass drug tests.”

Chaffee noted that manufacturing is no longer a man’s profession. Of the 695 Ellwood employees in Lawrence County, 79 are women including Judy Shaffer, vice president of the specialty  steel group.

She added that career opportunities are not limited to the factory floors but include safety, engineering, supply chain, sales and human services. Other opportunities exist in machine operators, electronics, as millwrights, welders, electricians and metallurgists. 

“If college is not in your plans and you don’t go to the military, consider us,” Lewis said.

“We never really advertised in the past, but now we’re competing for talented workers,” Vaccaro said.

Vaccaro said Ellwood Group selected the schools for this year’s presentations on the recommendation of Linda Jaworski Rapone of the School to Work program. All four, she said, offer technology programs. 

“People don’t know that we’re here, what goes on in their own backyard,” she said. The Ellwood Group Inc. is a family of nine operating business units employing 2,200 workers in three countries and five states which produces quality products of the oil and gas industries, mining, construction, government and the military.

Prior to the presentation, Chaffee, Lewis and Vaccaro toured the district’s wood, metal and welding shops, its computer-aided drafting and robotics labs and afterward visited the STEAM classroom.



Nancy Lowry is a reporter at the New Castle News. Email her at nlowry@ncnewsonline.com

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