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Creators Wanted: National manufacturing tour makes its way through Iowa, aims to attract next generation of workers

The National Association of Manufacturing says the average annual manufacturing income is over $72,000.

PELLA, Iowa — In an effort to highlight career opportunities in the manufacturing industry, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute have a national campaign called "Creators Wanted".

On Tuesday, the campaign made its way to Pella, Iowa. The event was cosponsored by Pella and Vermeer. 

The campaign brings a problem-solving simulator to show students and other job seekers a taste of what jobs in the manufacturing industry are like. Organizers say the goal is to show potential future workers these jobs are high-paying and high-tech. 

The National Association of Manufacturers says the average annual compensation of an Iowa manufacturer is $72,750.57 in 2019. It says 23,485 jobs have been posted in just this year, with 2,804 in the last 30 days. 

"Never in the 74 years of  Vermeer's history have we had such difficulty getting in the supply chain in," said Vermeer President and CEO Jason Andringa. "And our suppliers tell us it's workforce-related. It's been our challenge even frankly before the pandemic."

This is why industry leaders say they're working overtime to entice workers.

"So our brand team is actually spending a lot of time marketing Pella as an employment brand," said Pella CEO and President Tom Yaggi. "Trying to recruit people into our facilities, trying to make the jobs even more attractive. Bringing in technology that can make our jobs easier, make people more effective." 

Gov. Kim Reynolds hopes this campaign educates students on the credits and training they can receive before they graduate. 

"They can start earning while in high school they can graduate with an associate's degree," said Reynolds. "They're buying F-150 trucks or putting a down payment on a house, they're starting a career with absolutely no debt."

Governor Reynolds hopes this tour not only sparks interest from students but also from employers, to offer enticements like apprenticeships.

"All of those create a pipeline and keep our kids in the state and in the communities they grew up in. That's economic development for all of us."

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