Building the Future of Manufacturing in the US with AR and VR Career Exploration

A map of the US with the words "Where are the manufacturing jobs?" on it.

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Manufacturing is one of the modern world’s most important industries and a major employment sector. However, in the US, these companies are struggling to fill open roles in their clean, modern facilities. This is ironic given that many roles don’t require a four-year college degree to get started on a career path with good wages and upward mobility.

Even with this opportune combination — a vital industry, lots of job openings, and no college degree requirement for many — the problem of helping students and job seekers from pools of undiscovered talent get into these roles won’t solve itself. Like every other human endeavor worth doing, it’ll take a combination of technology, relationships, and dedication to solve.

This interactive infographic about manufacturing in the US is a handy guide to some of the amazing opportunities available in the manufacturing industry, including open roles by state across 10 spotlight states, starting salaries, and projected earnings after 4 years in the role. There are also collected stories from Transfr partners that are working to connect job seekers with the training they need to secure well-paying jobs in their areas. It all ties together into a story of opportunity, education, and empowerment — one that’s being supercharged right now with VR career exploration and AR technology.

Huge opportunities in the manufacturing space

The recent upsurge in job openings at manufacturers of all kinds is a huge opportunity for students and job seekers. The manufacturing sector in the US is poised to grow to almost 300,000 open roles by 2025. These roles encompass a wide array of focus areas across the entire manufacturing process and in a variety of industries — manufacturing isn’t just one type of facility or one type of experience.

In the Return of Manufacturing in the United States infographic, the four manufacturing jobs highlighted are maintenance/repair technicians, assemblers, welders, and machinists. All these careers offer strong starting salaries and career paths with upward mobility — without college degrees.

The spotlight states (Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, etc.) all represent places where manufacturing is surging back in a big way. Organizations and employers there have committed to helping build strong talent pipelines to provide skilled, engaged workers for these vital roles.

Building manufacturing buzz with VR and AR career exploration

To fill this flood of job openings and keep the engine of manufacturing humming, educators, employers, and workforce boards (as well as other community organizations, like the Boys & Girls Club) are working to change the way people see these jobs by showing them what these careers entail and what modern manufacturing workplaces are really like:

“It’s important to change the optics of what manufacturing looks like today,” says Sarah Hartwick, VP of Education and Workforce Policy with the Illinois Manufacturer’s Association. “It’s no longer dark, dirty, and dangerous. It’s clean, sustainable, high-tech, diverse… And if you visit a shop floor today — you will be blown away. It’s incredible.”

Organizations building the future of manufacturing

In addition to displaying the vast number of job opportunities in different manufacturing roles, this interactive map also links out to a variety of inspiring customer stories from Transfr partners in these spotlight states. In Florida, AmSkills uses its mobile career boot camps to bring VR headsets and support teams directly to communities where transportation is a serious challenge. This combination of high technology and human ingenuity is opening doors and helping connect people with opportunities in their areas.

“One of the problems in society today is that there’s little chance to explore different careers,” says AmSkills CEO Tom Mudano. “How can someone know if they want to be a machinist or work in robotics? AmSkills Career Discovery Bootcamps allow them to explore these different careers in manufacturing and the Transfr system allows us to provide even more opportunity to show careers that we might not be able to provide otherwise.”

West Alabama Works helps students explore careers with VR headsets via their Worlds of Work events. Students from all across their service area come together for various job readiness activities. Since deploying Transfr, these schools have seen a marked uptick in CTE enrollment.

“This program is creating 5-star recruits,” says Donny Jones, COO of West Alabama Works. “Teachers are empowered and engaged, students are better qualified and ready for success on day one. Students with a higher academic achievement rate are being attracted to industry — creating leaders of the future — and more kids are staying in the community because of local, well-paying jobs.”

With the right combination of caring, dedicated human teams, and technology, including VR career exploration and VR skills training headsets, the potential for change is immense. Dig into this detailed infographic and explore more amazing stories and opportunities.

Ready to learn more about how manufacturing in the US and VR?

Picture of Jack Cieslak
Jack Cieslak
Jack Cieslak is the Editorial Director at Transfr. He’s worked in tech for over a decade, writing for Amazon, CB Insights, and Sisense, among others. When he’s not behind a computer, he enjoys martial arts, gardening, hiking, and of course, reading. A seasoned public speaker, Jack is also the host of Upward, the Transfr podcast.