Explore the Northland Manufacturing Industry

Career pathways abound in the booming Northland manufacturing industry.

You’re probably already familiar with globally recognized companies like Cirrus (which builds jets in Duluth) and Ziegler CAT (as seen in 2012’s Skyfall featuring Daniel Craig as James Bond).

At a glance, here are a handful of stunning stats: 

  • Manufacturing contributes $50.8 billion a year to Minnesota’s economy according to 2020 data from DEED. That’s 14% of the state’s total GDP.
  • In Wisconsin, manufacturing generated a whopping $64.88 billion in total output for the state in 2019, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

Manufacturing offers some of the best-paying jobs around: 

  • According to DEED, nearly 324,000 manufacturing jobs in Minnesota paid an average annual wage of $70,865 in 2020. That’s more than $6,700 a year higher than average wages across all other industries. 
  • In Wisconsin, approximately 472,000 manufacturing employees make an average annual salary of $74,252 together, they make up around 17% of Wisconsin’s workforce (NAM).  

Read on to learn how you can join the manufacturing community.

Training & Academic Institutions

You have several local options if you would like to take courses and complete programs that will prepare you for high-paying careers in manufacturing.

  • Lake Superior College in Duluth offers over a hundred certificates, degrees, and courses.
  • Minnesota North College in Virginia & Eveleth offers diverse programs, degrees, and certificates in the heart of Minnesota’s Iron Range. 
  • Northwood Technical College (Formerly WITC) in Superior offers flexible industrial programs, including apprenticeship associate degrees. These programs allow students to receive advanced standing credit for previous apprenticeship work and then create a unique associate degree.

Major Regional Manufacturers

Here are the names to know when it comes to area manufacturers. Would you like to be part of one of these teams? Reach out directly to these companies and ask for an informational interview. Or, you can also contact our team — we’re happy to make introductions!  

Local Welding Employers

Local A&P Mechanic Employers

Local Machinist Employers

Specialized Paths in Manufacturing

Welders, A&P Mechanics, and Machinists are in high demand. Entry-level wages start at around $16 per hour with many opportunities for advancement. Here’s an overview of how these career paths can work:


A&P Mechanics 


Contact our team to learn more about how to pursue a career in one of these roles or another specialty manufacturing position!

You can also browse current job openings in manufacturing across the Northland HERE.

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