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Manufacturing is alive and well in Carbon

Published November 10. 2018 06:04AM

Quick quiz: How many manufacturers are there in Carbon County?

If you guessed more than 40 you are correct!

Manufacturing in Carbon County is alive and doing quite well, thank you, and with over 4,467 employees creating everything from fire apparatus to plastics and furniture (we also have the largest maker of aluminum powders in the U.S.), our manufacturers are pretty impressive.

Carbon’s manufacturing industry is second only to health care and social services as being the highest employment sector in the county. However, the annual average wages for Carbon’s manufacturing employees are actually ranked higher than health care at $48,426, with health care coming in at $39,597, according to data obtained from Carbon Chamber and Economic Development website.

You may be surprised to know that many of the companies do business internationally by shipping products overseas to countries such as Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. Other companies have secondary locations in countries such as France and Australia.

The molds that made the stonework on the bridges on Route 903 in Jim Thorpe and the Mahoning Valley interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike are manufactured by Architectural Polymers in Palmerton.

A look at the company’s website shows some pretty impressive projects.

Hydra-tech Pumps in Nesquehoning has been in business for 40 years. The company designs and creates quality pump and power solutions for their customers and are just one of many of our local companies that do business overseas.

B.T.M. Inc. in Jim Thorpe is tucked away out of plain sight. Started in 1988 as Beers Tooling and Machining, BTM became one of the few machine shops qualified to ship finished parts directly to the field for pumps which are out of service.

Quite a few of our manufacturers also partner with Carbon Career & Technical Institute to accept cooperative education students that are willing to learn a trade. This is extremely important in this day and age. As the baby boomers are entering retirement, there is a serious need for the next generation to fill those openings in the trades.

Partnerships between business and education are extremely important to help provide new employees on the job training.

The retiring employee may have been on that job for many years and knows the idiosyncrasies of their position and how the machine they are operating works at its optimum capacity.

This knowledge is not learned in a classroom but instead is learned after years on the job. This is where apprenticeships come into play.

New employees work alongside the experienced worker to learn best practices for that position. This type of training enables the new employee to seamlessly step into the position when their mentor retires.

Manufacturing companies are sprinkled throughout our boroughs and townships, so next time you drive by TPEI in Mahoning Township, Blue Ridge Pressure Casting in Lehighton or Bradford Clocks in Weatherly, think about what they are making inside and how many of our residents are employed at good-paying jobs.

Then be proud that Carbon County’s manufacturing legacy lives on.

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