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Kitchen cabinet manufacturing back on front burner

Along with the housing industry, kitchen cabinet manufacturing in central Minnesota is simmering again.

Jobs in the 13-county region jumped 27.4 percent from 2010 to 2012, which was more than five times as fast as the state as a whole, which gained 4.8 percent, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported.

Central Minnesota is home to more than one-fourth of the state’s employment in furniture and related product manufacturing, including one-third of the state’s jobs in kitchen cabinet manufacturing.

Through 2012 central Minnesota could boast 122 furniture and related product manufacturing establishments, providing 2,285 jobs and a total payroll of just under $94 million. The largest segment, household and institutional furniture and kitchen cabinet manufacturing, provided 1,897 jobs at 108 firms with a payroll of $74.4 million.

Those interested in the work are expected to need a high school education and one year of training, but new technology and sophisticated machinery require workers to continue training.

It often takes three or more years to become a skilled woodworker, with workers needing to read blueprints, set up machines and plan work sequences.

“Skill with computers and computer-controlled machinery is increasingly important. Those who have advanced skills, including in mathematics and computers, should have the best job opportunities in manufacturing industries,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Some woodworkers further their education at technical schools or community colleges, while others attend postsecondary training in wood technology, furniture manufacturing, wood engineering and production management, all of which become more important as woodworking technology advances.

It will be important to have enough skilled workers in the construction sector in the coming years to keep the state’s economic recovery on track, DEED reported.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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