When we look back through history, 2020 will likely be talked about for years to come for many reasons. From a contentious presidential election to a disastrous worldwide pandemic that continues to rage on, this year has certainly been stressful and unpredictable. But throughout this turbulent period, the manufacturing industry has chugged along, playing its hugely necessary, even crucial, role within our New England, United States, and worldwide economy.

Many of the materials and products that we use on a daily basis were either built or assembled within a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. From your morning coffee cups and remote work laptop computers to airplanes and essential medical equipment, it all comes together within a manufacturing facility. Is it made up of metal, plastic, or textile? Then it very well may have found its beginning within the hands of a CNC Machinist or Machine Operator.

What Does the Manufacturing Industry Look Like in 2020?

Despite the nationwide pandemic, the manufacturing industry continues to rank in the top five as the nation’s fifth-largest employer, according to census.gov, with over 11.9 million employed workers. Excitingly, the average annual payroll for those workers was $60,260. With this information, we can determine that manufacturing within the United States is here to stay, as a critical part of our economy.

However, the rise of the coronavirus, COVID-19, has had an impact on the manufacturing community, as it has with all industries within our national and worldwide economies. While difficulties have required additional efforts to maintain shipping and supply chains, technological innovations have had to step up now, more than ever. But, it’s worth noting that, according to a report composed by ScienceDaily, manufacturers have “supplied critical equipment and devices needed by the public and health care workers, oftentimes exploring new technologies.” These new technologies created and implemented to meet and aid the needs of the economy, and the world.

The Continued Rise of Industry 4.0

2020 saw the continued growth of industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 refers to the concept known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This has a great impact on the current manufacturing industry and practices and is an indicator of where the industry is headed in 2021 and beyond.

The landscape of manufacturing is changing rapidly. Industry 4.0 signals the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial processes, techniques, and practices to keep up and surpass the needs of the increasingly digital worldwide economy. Modern smart technology such as robotics, machine-to-machine communication, and the internet of things (IoT – digitally interconnected physical devices), is rapidly becoming not only the go-to processes for manufacturing but THE processes of manufacturing.

Advances in machine learning and smart technology have increased manufacturing automation, improved communication, including self-monitoring, and the production of intelligent machines that can now analyze and diagnose problems within other machines with pinpoint precision and accuracy.

According to Bernard Marr of Forbes, “connected machines collect a tremendous volume of data that can inform maintenance, performance and other issues, as well as analyze that data to identify patterns and insights that would be impossible for a human to do in a reasonable timeframe, Industry 4.0 offers the opportunity for manufacturers to optimize their operations quickly and efficiently by knowing what needs attention.”

Innovation Breeds New Opportunities

Additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) has also advanced greatly due to Industry 4.0 innovations. While previously, 3D was only used for presentations and prototype materials, advancements have allowed 3D printing to be integrated into actual manufacturing and production.

With the continued rise of technological advancements combined with an aging and rapidly retiring workforce, the manufacturing industry provides a wealth of opportunities for young professionals seeking a long-term, stable career. Innovation is only as successful as the innovator, and the industry now needs those innovators to wield the incredible technology at our disposal. This is where the NAMC and AMTEP come into play.

The Future of Manufacturing with AMTEP

Set forth by the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (NAMC), the Advanced Manufacturing Training Expansion Program (AMTEP) plans to fill the gaps left open by the currently retiring generation manufacturing workers. With the goal of expanding accessible manufacturing training opportunities on the North Shore, AMTEP offers young professionals the chance to receive expert hands-on innovative training, preparing them for a successful long-term career within manufacturing.


Students and trainees within the program receive over 415 hours of hands-on technical training with industry experts. The training is done at various community colleges, vocational schools, and educational institutions throughout the region, including tours of existing state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. Trainees can also choose to take part in foundation training and an English as a Second Language (ESL) course.

We’ve partnered with top community colleges and vocational institutions across the North Shore and surrounding areas such as Middlesex Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, Northern Essex Community College, to name a few. Our trainees are provided with accessible courses at easy to find and access locations. We understand that many students are currently taking care of their home life, families, or working part or full-time jobs, so our course plans are flexible, fitting within their schedule.


AMTEP has achieved success due to the collaborative nature of our various successful business partners and manufacturers such as GE Aviation, Innovent Technologies, the Boyd Corporation, and many others. NAMC business partners are committed to nurturing and training the next generation of manufacturing workforces today, contributing their businesses, knowledge, and facilities to the NAMC and AMTEP.

As we look back at 2020 and the incredible technological strides that have been made, despite the current worldwide pandemic situation, we foresee a bright future for the manufacturing industry. Young manufacturing professionals brim with excited, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable energy to genuinely make a difference in their community and the economy. With the companies mentioned above continuously innovating and AMTEP opening new doorways for both trainees, entry-level workers, and employers alike, the manufacturing community’s possibilities are exciting indeed.