Up Close with Yanet

May 08, 2019

Up Close with Yanet image

Is Manufacturing really a great career choice? It took me sometime to figure this out---here’s my story. As a Cuban native my family and I moved to the United States in 2007. We were very fortunate to be the recipients of the Diversity Immigrant Visa program which is usually referred to as “Winning the Lottery” in many countries because the chances of being drawn to receive a green card are limited. I was just a kid when we were selected, but I remember how excited my parents were about this new opportunity to offer my siblings and I a brighter future. Without knowing much about this new country they still took the risk of leaving everything they had behind to start a new life in the United States. Having to support a family of five was not easy when getting paid close to minimum wage. Of course, English was a language barrier and it forced my parents to accept the less attractive jobs no one wanted. After struggling financially in Miami for more than a year, my parents were recruited by a Manufacturing company out of the state. They saw that as an opportunity to progress in life and they definitely took it. Their salary increased but the work was very tough. My parents worked at the assembly line for long hours (overtime was required) during the 3rd shift. “Aléjate de la fabricación!” ---they said, which translated to “Stay away from Manufacturing!” That’s what my parents told me ever since because of their own personal experience.

 I followed my parent’s advice and tried to stay away from any manufacturing related career. So I went to college at the University of South Carolina - Sumter campus and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. During my last year I did an internship for Sumter Economic Development/TheLINK and it was a great experience that turned into an internal position. As many of you might know, the primary role of economic developers is to recruit new manufacturing industries and retain existing industries to increase tax base and provide citizens with well-paying jobs (yeah—I just copied our mission statement!). Well… I never anticipated that after staying away from manufacturing I was now going to be recruiting them. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and it has been almost 2 years now that I’m been with the organization.

I have had the great pleasure to work very closely on different programs/events with our industries personnel and visited their plants multiple times. Now… I see how my parents where wrong and how it’s far from what I pictured. I learned that if you actually get the skills needed to perform the job required then manufacturing can be very rewarding. Modern manufacturing is actually advanced, clean, safe, lucrative, and has many opportunities for growth and development. After learning about different programs our local technical college offers for the manufacturing sector I was able to share the information with others including my own sister. She registered at Central Carolina Technical College and took advantage of all the great benefits offered to students. She enrolled in the CNC Machinist program that was offered and fully paid by the college. She continuous to work on her education and before even graduating this summer from the program she received an offer from a local manufacturer starting at $58,000 a year plus benefits. She loves her job and all the opportunities that she has for growth and development with the company. These are opportunities that my parents never realized existed, and of course, it has changed my perspective on manufacturing. Interacting with our local and regional Industries has also changed my mindset.

So is Manufacturing really a great career choice? Absolutely!


Yanet Alvarez