In the past few decades, the averages wages in the Bay Area have hovered high above the wages in the broader US economy. Although the dot-com bubble generated rapidly increasing wages in the late 90’s, they had little long term effect on these wages in the Bay Area. Rather, an analysis of the industry composition illustrates the huge role of manufacturing. Surprising for some, the Bay Area’s manufacturing industry – whose employees require advanced education – plays a large role in increasing the Bay Area’s GDP and average per-capita wages. Supporting around eighty thousand jobs in Oakland alone, the manufacturing industry is one of the Bay Area’s most important industries, flies under the radar when we think of “Oakland.”

Both the Machine Technology department at Laney Community College as well as the the Oakland Makers serve to create qualified industrial employees as well as raise awareness of the importance of Oakland’s industrial sector.

Mark Martin, director of Laney’s Industrial Maintenance Program, emphasizes the importance of acquiring the skills for a foundation in the industrial arts: “If we are a technological society, machine technology is a useful trade for all professions.” Undoubtedly, we are not only in a technological age, but Bay Area residents are living in a technological hub. Gaining skills or even understanding the importance of industry provides a basis for practically all professions.

Background in Industrial Maintenance also opens a huge set of doors for students looking for jobs. According to Martin, a one year certificate at Laney’s Industrial Maintenance Program (approximately $2000) enters the job market with an annual salary of around forty-five thousand dollars. Students graduating with a certificate for two years enter with sixty thousand (more than the average annual salary of a starting lawyer).  Martin also emphasizes that many students at Laney are on financial aid or scholarship. So students not only acquire an affordable education – but they acquire a pragmatic education, one that allows them to be a vital part of Oakland’s economy.

To raise awareness of the importance of industrial arts, The Oakland Makers, an alliance of Oakland artisans, technologists, educators, and artists have “galvanized as a group to increase the visibility of Oakland’s manufacturing and industrial arts, sustain the ability of these sectors to operate and thrive, and grow Oakland’s diverse, sustainable Creative Economy.” says Cathy Shields, events coordinator of the Makers. They create a bridge between true “Oakland Makers” and other Oakland residents with a curiosity for hands-on experience.

Both Laney’s department and the Makers highlight the importance industrial technology – the tacit foundation of Oakland’s economy.



Check out the Oakland Makers’ East Bay Mini Maker Fair

When: Sunday, October 20, 2013, 10 am to 5pm
Where: Park Day School, 360 42nd Street, Oakland, CA  and Studio One Art Center, 365 45th Street,  Oakland, CA  94609

Laney is recruiting industrial maintenance technicians for fall 2013: Industrial Maintenance Program



One Response

  1. Sabrina Merlo

    This is great coverage – I am on the advisory board for Oakland Makers. But Oakland Makers did not organize the East Bay Mini Maker Faire (Park Day School organizes it). Can you please change the last paragraph to say “Check out many of the organizations and makers involved in Oakland Makers at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire”.

    Also, I shot the picture above and it’s good manners to credit the photog in your post 😉


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