Manufacturing Jobs on the Rise is WNY

October 27, 2011 Updated Oct 27, 2011 at 8:58 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

October 27, 2011 Updated Oct 27, 2011 at 8:58 PM EDT

(Buffalo, NY) Several years ago, it seemed like industrial manufacturing in Western New York didn't have much of a future.

Companies were cutting back and laying off.

Over the past couple of years, things have changed, says US Senator Charles Schumer.

"One of the few bright spots during the last few years has been manufacturing in Western New York," adds Schumer.

The business boom seems to be triggered by a demand for highly skilled workers.

Nate Witkowski, Department Chair for Erie Community College's Industrial Technology program, says he has never seen demand as high as it is right now for skilled workers.

"China, overseas, and low cost places are going to beat us with unskilled labor every time. What we have here is high skilled careers."

Students in Erie Community College's CNC Machining program are in such high demand, that often times they are offered jobs even before they finish school.

"A couple weeks ago, I sent a students resume out. Within six minutes his phone started ringing," comments Witkowski.

Economic officials say there is also a great need for skilled trade workers in areas like plumbing and electrical.