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Western Pennsylvania has a secret: manufacturing offers the opportunity to work with technology in a clean environment with excellent benefits and wages, job security, and a rewarding career. Many people who enter this field stay in it.

In manufacturing, you might set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. You may also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.

There is expected to be a local shortage of manufacturing workers, with 57% of the goods-producing sector made up of workers over the age of 45. Many of these workers will be retiring soon without a replacement.

Here are some manufacturing occupations locally:
Machinist - $19.26 per hour median wage
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators - $17.16 per hour median wage
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks - $22.25 per hour median wage

Learn more about the occupations available on O*Net, PACareerCoach, and JobGateWay

Is it a Good Fit?

Do you feel comfortable using technology to accomplish tasks?
Manufacturing jobs require an understanding of numerical information. Do you enjoy using math and numerical information?
Do you enjoy using your hands to complete mechanical tasks?
Are you prepared to work as part of a team with your coworkers?

What Else Do I Need to Know?

The following criteria may not be required for you to register for a training program in Manufacturing. However, many of these concepts apply when it comes to securing a job.

Many companies conduct criminal background checks before hiring a job seeker for employment, so it’s helpful to know your own history. You can research criminal record information online or request a hard copy of your record.


To access official criminal record information online, visit Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History (PATCH), a resource provided by the Pennsylvania State Police. Each background check request costs $10.00 to $15.00, which can be paid online using a credit card. When completing the request form as an individual requesting your own record, you will be categorized as a “non-registered user.” Approximately 85% of the time, a response of “no record” is returned immediately. Record requests that are labeled “under review” may take two to three weeks for a response. The PATCH help desk number is 1-888-QUERY-PA (1-888-783-7972).


You can also submit a request form by mail using the Criminal History Request Form SP4-164. This request costs $10.00 and can be paid by certified check or money order payable to:

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Police Central Repository - 164  1800 Elmerton Avenue  Harrisburg, PA 17110-9758


You may also wish to contact the Allegheny County Department of Court Records at (412) 350-6075.


If your criminal record contains convictions, please be aware that the following convictions may impact your ability to gain employment in the fields of manufacturing, healthcare, or energy:

Misdemeanor Convictions for offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct, DUI, and non-violent offenses that are over 10 years old are typically evaluated on a case-by-case basis by employers in conjunction with the employer’s needs and the candidate’s relevant experience. Individuals with these records may be accepted for employment in certain sectors.

Convictions for Prohibited Offenses such as those listed here may make it difficult to find employment in the fields listed above.


If your criminal record contains non-convictions, such as verdicts of not guilty or dismissal, you may be able to expunge them. After an expungement is granted, the Department of Court Records, Criminal Division, eliminates all non-conviction data from its physical case files and electronic database. Expungements cost approximately $120.00 for each day of arrest. Forms to begin the expungement request process should be requested from the Department of Court Records, Criminal Division located at 436 Grant Street, Room 114, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2495, or by phone at (412) 350-5322. Additional information can be found here.


Individuals with offenses on their criminal record can find assistance from the following organization which has significant expertise in the area of ex-offender workforce development:


Mon Valley Initiative

Call (412) 464-4000, press 0, state your needs, and you should be directed to the designated staff person.

In manufacturing, healthcare, and energy, safety is one of the highest priorities. In addition to observing on the job safety standards, employees must be drug free. For many employers, and some training programs, the ability to pass a drug test is required.

If you need help addressing alcohol or substance abuse issues, please contact the following organization, where you can speak with a trained counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

Resolve Crisis Network
1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226)

For training and employment, you will be expected to show up on time on a regular basis and unexcused absences can have serious consequences. It is important to have access to reliable transportation during evening and weekends.  If you need help with transportation, please contact the following organizations which may be able to provide assistance or guidance:

Family Services of Western Pennsylvania Ways to Work Program
Please call: (866) 965-5929 x650
6401 Penn Avenue
2nd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

North Hills Community Outreach Community Auto Program
Please call: 724-443-8300
11490 Perry Highway, Suite 7
Wexford, PA 15090

Reliable child care promotes long-term stability in new job situations. Having child care will allow you to attend work regularly without unexpected interruptions. You may want to explore your options for child care before applying for a new job.

  • If you need child care during work hours, it is important to have both a primary childcare (Plan A) and backup childcare (Plan B) available to you.
  • If you need assistance with child care, please contact
    Child Care Information Services (CCIS), which is the hub of child care information in your local area. CCIS agencies provide you and your family with information on child care and personalized child care referrals to child care providers based on your specific needs or preferences. CCIS agencies also administer the Child Care Works subsidized child care program. For all of your child care questions and needs, contact the CCIS agency for your local area (listed here) or call the Child Care Works Helpline at 1-877-4-PA-KIDS.

Many companies provide generous benefits and vacation time. However, work patterns shift on site. Many employers ask employees to work different shifts around the clock - night shift, day shift, weekends, holidays.

It is important to be able to work rotating shifts.

Some great careers ask employees to be able to bend, stoop, and lift items during the job and remain standing during an entire shift.

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