If you are one of the more than 12 million blue collar workers in manufacturing worried about losing your job, or one of the 5 million who saw their employment opportunities disappear since 2000, you should know about one industry that is always looking for help.

For skilled production workers, the pay is good, demand is high, and you can advance into other related positions as you age, effectively insuring that you will have employment until you retire. Robots aren’t threatening to take over and training is generally on the job, so you won’t be paying tuition to a trade school that is churning out thousands of graduates looking to get their foot in the door.

Few people are moving into the industry, which insures that you won’t be competing with a market flooded with healthcare MBAs or displaced executives from the financial sector. And if you are already employed in manufacturing or even the construction trades, many of your skills and much of your knowledge will migrate to your new job.

What is this industry that can miraculously heal your wounded blue collar resume?


Don’t believe the hype that printing is dead. In fact, the biggest obstacle to growth for many print shops is the lack of qualified, skilled press operators and not the demand for product. Top workers find themselves receiving competing offers on a fairly regular basis. There is often talk among those in the industry about the future of printing as so few people are moving into the field, and training takes a few years.

Due to the logistics of obtaining the raw materials (most are produced in the United States), and the need to complete jobs within a day or two, this work has not been outsourced to other countries. Thanks to the efforts of print shops recycling, it is considered a green industry. Most of the market remains regional, which means that you are not going to see the price of the product – and your wages – slashed to remain competitive with someone in a depressed economic area. There are a number of different presses to learn, and a variety of areas to where you can specialize.

What is the downside? The work isn’t for everyone.

Printing requires an incredible attention to detail in a super fast paced environment, and a keen eye for color. Even a slight mistake will ruin a job and can cost the company thousands of dollars, so the work can be stressful. You will need solid skills in mathematics, including being able to measure, multiply and divide. The job is physically demanding, and requires bending, lifting and working in tight spaces. The hours can be long and weekends or overtime are almost always mandatory. And every day requires you bring your A game.

But if you’re looking for a job where your skills will be valued, your production meaningful and safe for the environment, in a career that enables you to raise a family and work until retirement, consider printing.

By the way, we’re hiring.

© 2017 Shelly Fagan

Diversified Print Solutions