Building a future with Machine Trade Careers in Todd County

Building a future with Machine Trade Careers in Todd County Main Photo

29 Mar 2023


Machine trade careers are becoming increasingly popular in Central Minnesota, as they offer high earning and growth potential and do not require prior experience. These careers involve operating equipment to make parts of larger objects using materials such as metal, paper, wood, plastics, and stone. They are vital parts of the production process, and individuals in these roles typically work in machine shops, tool rooms, and manufacturing businesses.

Two popular machine trade careers in Central Minnesota include CNC Machinist and Tool-and-Die Maker. CNC machinists develop and operate the computer and mechanically controlled tools that make other tools and instruments. On the other hand, tool and die makers set up and operate a variety of computer or mechanically controlled machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.

One of the biggest draws of machine trade careers is the high earning potential. Wages typically start from $37,180 and go up to $70,140. Once you have a 2-year machine trades degree, you can begin making an average of $27 per hour (2022). Some of the top pay ranges for an experienced machinist and/or tool die maker in the Staples area is $35-$40 per hour (2022). This growth potential allows individuals to build successful careers and attain financial stability.

Moreover, one of the most exciting aspects of machine trade careers is that individuals can begin learning at any skill level. Even if you have no prior experience, you can enroll in a machine trades program and start building a career. This accessibility makes these careers a great option for individuals who are interested in the field but may not have any experience.

We spoke to Melissa Wyman, Staples Economic Development Director for her input on choosing Machine Trade as a career option:

1. What specific efforts have been made to promote Machine Trades as a viable career option for high school students and unemployed individuals in the area?

Through public and private partnerships with local businesses, the local community college and the Economic Alliance, and the Staples EDA, we have created a brochure that shares information on careers in machine trades. This is intended for those that are in high school or adults looking for a career change to better understand what machine trades positions are and the benefits of exploring a career in this field. The brochure lists earning potential as well as the needed education to get a position in this field. It also lists the anticipated growth of manufacturers in the area showing the high demand for the positions.

The college, schools, economic development partners, and businesses have access to these brochures which are used when discussing careers with youth. The local businesses plan to use them when they attend job fairs and present to schools on manufacturing and workforce demand.

2. How important is the role of Machine Trades in the local economy, and what impact does it have on the community as a whole?

Machine trades play an important role in the local economy. Staples and the surrounding area are home to many businesses in this field. They employ hundreds of people and rely on our workforce to continue operating. We must be able to retain the employers that offer great jobs to our residents and that our community is ready to fill those positions as they become available.

3. What kind of training and educational opportunities are available to individuals interested in pursuing a career in Machine Trades and how can you and your team assist in helping them gain access to these resources?

Central Lakes College offers a wonderful machine trades program right here in Staples. Programs they offer are CNC Technologies A.A.S. Degree Program, CNC Technologies Diploma Program, and Machine Operations Diploma Program. In addition, the Staples Motley school district is working to offer an introduction to machine trades program and the Bertha school is currently offering a similar program. I would love to assist anyone who is interested in a career in machine trades to connect with businesses and the local college to learn more!

In conclusion, machine trade careers are an excellent option for individuals who are interested in the field and want to build a successful career. With high earning potential, growth opportunities, and accessibility for all skill levels, these careers offer a great way to be a part of something bigger and help positively impact the world.

Todd County Development Corporation (TCDC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit economic development corporation that serves all citizens of Todd County, Minnesota. Originally established in 1990, TCDC operates as a non-profit organization assisting communities and businesses with educational, technical, financial, and site selection services.