The New York Times highlighted Marlin Steel, a small Baltimore manufacturer, as an example of a pathway out of poverty. While increasing automation means manufacturing employment may never reach the levels of 50 years ago, the specialized skills needed for this more technology-intensive manufacturing can mean higher wages.
But it’s not just the pay that’s appealing. Lawrence Katz, an economist and member of the Mobility Partnership helping guide the Partnership’s thinking on the future of work, is quoted in the article. “I call it an identity mismatch, and I think it’s a huge issue for men,” Katz says of millions of manual laborers who have been displaced by deindustrialization.
A job at a place like Marlin can provide a family-sustaining wage and the pride that some blue-collar men, argues Katz, can have difficulty finding in the service sector.