What degrees, certificates or training are required to work in the steel industry?
There are opportunities to join the steel industry at all educational levels, from high school graduation onward. Further, there are opportunities to advance within the steel industry by furthering one’s education and training.
Unit operators – or equipment operators – may begin work with a high school diploma. These individuals should have a strong background in and aptitude for math and science.
A maintenance technician – electrical or mechanical – requires a two-year technical degree, usually in applied engineering.
Engineers and metallurgists must possess a Bachelor of Science in engineering or, in some cases, an advanced degree.
There are also opportunities in management and finance that require four-year college or advanced degrees.
See Steel Positions for more about these positions and their educational requirements.
What subjects should I study while I’m in school?
The steel industry is constantly seeking qualified, well-rounded people, but math and science are especially important. In addition, employees in the steel industry should be comfortable with technology, including computers and software.
Do steel companies offer internships or scholarship opportunities?
Ohio steel producers are strong advocates of educational advancement, providing scholarships to gifted and advanced students, internships to college students, and management trainee programs to promising employees. For more information about offerings from specific companies, visit Council member Web sites.
What positions in the steel industry are available to me with my educational background?
Within the steel industry, employees fall into three basic groups, each requiring a different level or type of educational background: (1) production, (2) maintenance and (3) professional and managerial positions. As older workers retire over the next three to five years, the demand for production and maintenance workers will be especially high. Some companies expect to replace as much as 50 percent of their workforce. If you have a strong background in math, science and technology, you may be a good candidate for these rewarding positions. For more information on positions, salary ranges and educational requirements, see Steel Positions.
Do people make a good living in the steel industry?
Equipment operators, maintenance technicians, engineers, scientists, supervisors and management in the steel industry make a good living. The average annual income for an hourly steelworker is $65,000, and some can earn far more through productivity bonuses.
Are there opportunities for career growth in the industry?
Yes, there is growth potential. Through on-the-job training and development or through continued education, an individual can move up the ladder into supervisory and management positions. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement programs. There is a great need for qualified supervisory and management professionals with experience in the steel industry.
How secure are jobs in the steel industry? Are steelworkers subject to layoffs?
Temporary layoffs may occur, but after many years of restructuring, the industry is now better able to manage economic cycles. Layoffs are less common and there are busy times, with opportunities for overtime and productivity bonuses.
What is the current job market like in the steel industry?
Over the next three to five years, Ohio’s steel industry will look to replace up to 50 percent of its workforce. These positions will include mechanical and electrical maintenance technicians, engineers and equipment operators. The coming years will be an opportune time to join the steel industry.
How has the steel industry changed in recent years?
Advances in technology, such as computer-driven automation, enable fewer steelworkers to do the work of many, in less time. Most of today’s steelworkers work with computers and cutting edge technology to address everything from production scheduling and machine control to metallurgical analysis.
Is the steel industry smaller than it was 30 years ago?
As a result of changes in the global economy, the U.S. steel industry has consolidated over the last 30 years. There have been many positive outcomes of this consolidation. For one, Ohio steel companies and the United Steelworkers had the occasion to work cooperatively to develop new work rules that grant steelworkers more latitude and responsibility in their jobs and more versatility in their training and skill set. As a result, steel companies are more efficiently staffed and are better able to respond to the demands of the marketplace.
With millions invested in new technology and equipment, today’s Ohio steel industry produces just as much steel as it did in the late 1990s, even though there are fewer companies and workers. At this time, the industry is in a good place and positioned for steady growth.
In an era of globalization, are steel companies committed to staying in Ohio or are they moving abroad?
Ohio is among the top three steel-producing and processing states in the nation. The other two states are Pennsylvania and Indiana. In Ohio, steel companies are surrounded by suppliers, customers, and a supportive infrastructure. In addition, they have access to world-class universities and a skilled workforce. Ohio has always been and will continue to be an ideal location for steel.
Still, many Ohio steel companies are international. They may have headquarters and major plants in Ohio, but they also have plants elsewhere in the world. Sometimes, the price of entry to doing business in another country is to have a plant there. So while steel companies are not leaving Ohio, they are expanding globally.
How is the steel industry addressing environmental concerns?
The steel industry has dramatically reduced emissions – 67 percent between 1995 and 2006, the steepest decline of any manufacturing sector. For more information on the steel environmental record, see Steel and the Environment.
What goods and services do U.S. steel companies provide today?
Steelworkers go to work knowing that what they produce is of vital importance to the economy, as well as to the security of our nation. Society’s most basic necessities depend on steel. From bridges to automobiles and appliances to surgical instruments used in hospital operating rooms, steel provides the strength, durability and style people will continue to depend on in this global economy.