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Manufacturing is a Thriving and Viable Career Option for our Kids

Parents worry about their kids not being able to support themselves. It’s frustrating and scary when your teenager isn’t excited about college, when you can’t afford college, or when attending college means your child will be saddled with debt. But there’s an option that many families don’t know about or don’t really understand—manufacturing. Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler has a conversation with manufacturing champion Terry M. Iverson. Terry enlightens parents about the manufacturing industry and the possibilities for our kids. Find out what it means to have a career in manufacturing, how to help your child discern which jobs are a good fit for them, what employers are looking for and how your child can build employable skills no matter what their interests.

A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

“It’s okay if a career in manufacturing isn’t right for your teen. It’s not okay to not even know it exists.”

High Points From Our Conversation About A Career In Manufacturing:

Manufacturing is a thriving and viable career option for our kids.

In manufacturing, there’s a strong culture of old-timers taking kids under their wing because they want to see them succeed.

The more skilled and value added you are, the more you have to offer an employer for a career. 

With a certificate or a 2-year degree, young people are well positioned to step into a slot that has a huge void.

There are many aspects to manufacturing. Our kids can work in marketing, sales, accounting, costing, the statistical side, or the HR side. Two of the most sought-after skills sets are problem solving and communication.

Internships are a great way for young people to figure out if a career in manufacturing is something they want to pursue as well as a way for the company to figure out if the person is a good fit.

A lot of manufacturing careers involve working with your hands.

The market is moving toward a need for skills rather than a 4-year degree. You need to prove value, but that doesn’t necessarily require a 4-year degree. Mentor your child in articulating their value.

Skills to develop include: communication skills and interview skills.

Robotics teams are a great way for your child to explore a career in manufacturing as well as a way to build strong skills employers desire.

Project Lead the Way, Lego Robotics, FIRST Robotics, Battle Bots, and Makerspace are all great programs for our kids to explore.

Let our teens know they have options. Encourage them to get involved in groups, follow their passions, learn about the world and build skills. Then teach them to articulate their skills. 

Our kids are taught to measure themselves by grades and awards. They need our help seeing skills they have.

Grades are important but they aren’t everything. Kids can discuss their tenacity and perseverance in courses with lower grades. They can talk about what they learned from the experience.

Tenacity is highly valued. Teach kids to arrive early, leave late, and be honest. 

As Terry’s grandchildren grow up he has these words of wisdom for them in pursuing a career: Internships are a great opportunity to understand early on what you enjoy, what you don’t enjoy, and what you’re passionate about. Pursue them starting early in high school.

Parents and grandparents need to notice what lights our kids up and encourage them to explore that.

If you’re in a market that isn’t saturated with applicants, if you’re passionate about it and work hard at it you’ll become good at it. If you’re tenacious you’ll learn and become value-added to your employer and will do well.

Resources Mentioned in Show:

Terry’s website on manufacturing:

Finding America’s Greatest Champion: Building Prosperity Through Manufacturing, Mentoring, and the Awesome Responsibility of Parenting

Our Guest Terry M. Iverson:

In 1980 I started working for my family’s machine tool distributorship. I have the awesome opportunity to work with and sell machine tool solutions to some of the most advanced manufacturers in the country.  The biggest champions in children’s lives are their parents, guardians, and educators whose important role is to guide them in positive ways. Iverson talked about challenges in parenting such as how mothers and fathers who sometimes both work out of necessity base their decisions out of guilt. He also gave examples of how people can mentor children through organizations or even in their neighborhoods. A father of three, Iverson himself was a mentor for his church’s youth and a coach for several local youth soccer teams.  “Our social fabric in this country starts and ends with parenting,” he said. “If we can get better at parenting, myself included, families would benefit greatly. I think the two components of mentoring and parenting are hugely important to the success of raising responsible adults.”

Our Sponsors:

Sandy Fowler—The Art and Science of Saying No: Ditch Guilt, Find Time, and Enjoy Your Life More

This is a one-time-only live training to help moms find the time to love their family and follow their passion. Course runs this Wednesday, August 12th so grab your seat now at

The Great Courses Plus—Streaming courses to keep your family entertained, learning and growing. (free trial at

The Great Courses Plus makes lifelong learning and personal enrichment available to anyone, anywhere. Get photography tips from a National Geographic photographer. Learn science, math, history, religion and more from the world’s greatest professors. Delve into health, fitness, nutrition, food, wine, and hobbies with top experts. These content-rich, unique courses provide you and your family with a world of knowledge designed to expand your horizons, deepen your understanding, and foster epiphanies. Pursue your passion. Quench your curiosity. Embark on an educational endeavor. Watch thousands of streaming videos on hundreds of subjects. 



Should Your Teenager Explore A Career In Manufacturing? | Terry M Iverson | Episode 137

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