About 80% of the manufacturing workforce is composed of people older than 45, which means a likely talent shortage as older workers retire, according to a report by ThomasNet News. Many young people may be wary of manufacturing because the profession evokes images of "dirty, dark and low-paying" work, says Paul Gerbino, head of ThomasNet News. "Manufacturers have to get the word out to high-school and college students that this can be a great career," Gerbino says.

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