Northland Manufacturing Industry

Explore this powerhouse sector of the economy in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.

Though manufacturing has been scaled back in many parts of the country, the sector is alive and well in this neck of the woods.

Manufacturing contributes $52.7 billion a year to Minnesota’s economy according to 2019 data from DEED. Around 8,270 Minnesota manufacturers employ nearly 324,000 workers. Together, they generate the largest share (14%) of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The story is similar in Wisconsin, where approximately manufacturing 475,000 employees at 7,737 firms generate a whopping $63.31 billion in total output for the state, according to the National Association of Manufactures (NAM).

“There’s something to be said about making a product with your own hands,” as InWisconsin.com puts it. “Wisconsin is one of few places where you have the power and opportunity to bring cutting-edge ideas to light and say, ‘Yeah, I made that.'”

High-Paying Jobs in High Demand

Numbers don’t lie: manufacturing offers some of the best-paying jobs around. According to DEED, the average annual wage for a Minnesota manufacturing job was $58,708 in 2018. That’s more than $15,500 higher than average wages across all other industries in the area. In Wisconsin, annual compensation was $71,226 on average in 2018 (NAM).

These are great local gigs with plenty of career advancement opportunities — and wages start at anywhere from $14 to $23 per hour. 

Manufacturing Names to Know

The names of the largest local manufacturers are probably already familiar to you, from TriTec based in Virginia MN, to Ziegler CAT based in Buhl. AltecBendtecCirrusIKONICSIPS CranesSappiSCS InteriorsUSG — the list of world-class companies goes on.

Based in Superior WI, AMSOIL is the inventor of synthetic oil. From IT, to finance, to quality control, there are tons of professional opportunities all under the same roof on AMSOIL’s state-of-the-art facility — all nine acres of it.

Read on for more local employers in manufacturing, as well as a directory to colleges and technical schools throughout this region that can prepare you for a career with companies that are ready to employ your skills. Another great resource is AMFA: The Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association. Keep an eye on their events page if you are already in the manufacturing field, or interested in getting into it.

Training & Academic Institutions

Lake Superior College in Duluth offers over a hundred certificates, degrees, and courses from welding to 3D printing and everything in between.

Mesabi Range College in Virginia & Eveleth offers diverse programs, degrees, and certificates in the heart of Minnesota’s Iron Range. Mesabi Range is one of five institutions in the Advanced Minnesota system offering in-demand training across the 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.

Specialized Career Pathways: Welders, A&P Mechanics, Machinists

Three of the most in-demand and best-paying positions in manufacturing include Welders, A&P Mechanics, and Machinists. Want a better understanding of what it takes to become a certified? Here are the details:

Local Welding Employers

Local A&P Mechanic Employers

Local Machinist Employers

Explore manufacturing careers now! Browse current openings across the region here.

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