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David Metzemaekers, director of operations at Scott Electronics in Salem, speaks about the value of employees on Manufacturing Day. (COURTESY)

Salem businessman pitches manufacturing careers to students

SALEM — The operations director of a Salem company that has grown from five to 95 employees in 26 years urged students and their parents to consider manufacturing as a career path Friday during Manufacturing Day.

David Metzemaekers of Scott Electronics, a contract manufacturer serving clients around the world, hosted a group of state and local officials Friday, observed in 37 states as Manufacturing Day, according to a news release.

The day aims to educate a new generation about the benefits and opportunities in the industry, which is being challenged by a need for skilled workers. Next week has been proclaimed Manufacturing Week in the Granite State.

“We hope Manufacturing Week will help educate students and their families that manufacturing is about having a diversified, well-trained, educated workforce,” Metzemaekers said. “The days of dingy and dark (factories) have been replaced with high-tech, clean facilities with motivated employees that encourage and welcome change.”

There are about 2,000 manufacturers in the state, employing more than 66,000 people and accounting for more than 15 percent of gross domestic product.“I believe this is the sector that is growing our economy, creating jobs and lifting wages, and it is truly increasing our global competitiveness,” said state Sen. Molly Kelly, D-Keene, chairman of the Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing Education Advisory Council.Mark Godfrey of Felton Inc. in Londonderry, chairman of the New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Partnership, said 600,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide are “left unfilled because of the gaps in job requirements and skills of those seeking jobs.”

He told the gathering, “I want students to be inspired to see secure, well-paying jobs” that manufacturing offers.

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