Auto Manufacturing Workers Seek Careers In Health Care Industry

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday examined how many ofthe tens of thousands of manufacturing workers who accepted buyoutsfrom U.S. automakers during the past 18 months have begun to seekcareers in the health care industry.


According to the Journal,careers in the health care industry have become the "most popularchoice" for former auto manufacturing workers because they "pay well"and are "less vulnerable to being outsourced." Auto manufacturingworkers have annual salaries of about $54,000, compared with between$60,000 and $62,000 for registered nurses and dental hygienists.

Ford Motorsaid that 40% of former manufacturing workers who accepted a buyoutthat included $15,000 over four years to cover education expensesdecided to seek careers in the health care industry, with about halfenrolled in nursing programs and the remainder enrolled in radiology,dental hygiene and pharmacology programs. Michigan colleges and United Auto Workers also said that enrollment in nursing and other health care programs by former manufacturing workers has increased.

MartyMulloy, head of labor relations for Ford, said, "Health care is wherethe jobs are." Andy Levin, deputy director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth,said, "Every hospital in Michigan needs nurses, and every school had anursing waiting list," adding, "The health care industry is a growthsector we want to foster" (McCracken, Wall Street Journal, 9/11).

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