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Study: Two-year degree commonly needed for advanced manufacturing jobs

By Ted Booker, for South Bend Tribune

Jun 08, 2016

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A recent study found that people looking for jobs in Indiana’s advanced manufacturing industry now commonly need at least a two-year associate degree, as jobs are increasingly moving off the production floor.

The study, “Advanced Manufacturing in the United States: The Shift Toward Diversified Industries and an Educated Workforce,” was conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University on behalf of Conexus Indiana, a private-sector initiative that promotes advanced manufacturing and logistics. It is available at

While the study found that traditional blue-collar jobs in the industry are on the decline in Indiana and nationwide, the numbers of white collar and STEM-related occupations are rising. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

College graduates are leading the industry’s recent growth and will continue to do so, according to Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research. While automated technology continues to replace blue-collar jobs, opportunities are growing for occupations that require a college education — such as architects, engineers, designers and managers.

“We’re getting people moving off the floor. ... They’re watching displays, doing laser tests and quality-control analysis,” Hicks said.

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