Approximately 85,250 glass manufacturing workers are employed in the United States. Most workers in glass manufacturing are employed in factories in or near big cities in many sections of the country, where they work with pressed or blown glass. Others work in plants making glass containers, and some work with flat glass. One of the world leaders in specialty glass materials is Corning, the company that supplied the glass for Thomas Edison's first light bulb and influenced the use of red, yellow, and green lights for traffic control. Among the applications for Corning's glass technology were the first mass-produced TV tubes, freezer-to-oven ceramic cookware, and car headlights. In the 1970s, Corning pioneered the development of optical fiber and auto emission technology; in 1993, the company was chosen by AT&T to provide fiber-optic couplers for its under-sea telecommunications system and developed an electrically heated catalytic converter that could meet strict California emissions standards. More recently, Corning created the first damage-resistant cover glass for mobile devices.
If you want an entry-level job in the glass manufacturing industry, you can apply directly to factories that may be hiring new workers. You might find leads to specific job openings through the classified ads in newspapers and the local offices of your state's employment service. Because many workers in this field are union members, it's a good idea to check out local union offices for job listings and general information about local opportunities.
If you want to be an apprentice in the industry, you might find information through union offices, glass manufacturing companies, and state services. After finishing your apprenticeship program, you could be rehired by the same company for which you apprenticed.
Advancement opportunities for glassworkers are similar to those in many other fields. Glass manufacturing workers who are disciplined, motivated, and reliable have the best chance for promotion and increased earnings. Glass workers can be trained to operate many types of equipment, either through their company or with the help of their union. After they have gained some seniority and a diversity of glassmaking skills, glassworkers would be qualified to transfer to other jobs, shifts, or supervisory positions when they become available.
Read Glass Magazine (http://www.glassmagazine.com) to learn more about the industry.
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