1) Quick Facts about Textile Jobs in North Carolina
The textile industry is one of the largest industries in the United States. According to the National Council of Textile Organizations or NCTO, in 2020 it employed about 529,600 people. Most mills manufacture clothing, but many produce household linens such as towels, sheets, and in STI's case, fabrics for residential use. Most textile products are sold to retail outlets or to other manufacturers that make finished products, however some are sold directly to consumers.
U.S. textile mills have increased labor productivity by 69% since 2000. In 2019, hourly and nonsupervisory textile mill workers on average earned more than twice as much as apparel store workers ($722 per week vs. $314) and received healthcare and retirement benefits. Full-time positions at STI start at $15/hr and increase based on skill and experience. STI also offers full healthcare benefits, a matching 401k program, two weeks paid vacation and so much more!
Textile plants and mills are located in nearly every state, but mostly concentrated in the southeast. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia alone employ more than half of all the industry's workers. STI is centrally located near the North Carolina and South Carolina border in the city of Kings Mountain, NC. Most employees are production workers. Some do handwork, but most operate machines and in some cases, may have several or even hundreds of machines to operate.
2) Textile Job Education and Requirements
Nearly all production jobs in the textile industry can be learned in a few weeks to several months. Employers generally prefer to hire folks that have a high school diploma but many offer part-time student apprenticeship programs as well. While some mills start new workers as the helpers of experienced employees, others hold formal classes for the newly hired. There are a few special apprenticeship programs for weavers, dyers, loom fixers, and other specialized workers. These programs may take from two to four years to complete, and they usually combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training.
Textile technicians often get their jobs after several years of experience as machine operators. In other cases, they qualify for the job after graduating from a two-year college or technical school that offers training in textile technology. For example, Cleveland Community College offers a great apprenticeship program for textile workers.
Professional workers such as designers, engineers, and managers usually need to be college graduates. There are several colleges and technical institutes that offer special programs in textile engineering, textile management, textile design, and textile chemistry. Also, many textile companies provide special training programs for college graduates.
For more information on our apprenticeship programs at STI please visit our Careers Page
3) Getting the Textile Job.
The best way to get started in a production job in the textile industry is by applying directly to textile mills. Your state employment office may know of job openings. Sometimes companies list openings online or in newspaper advertisements. Also, your school placement office may also be able to help you find a job.
If you're looking to apply for a position at STI, simply click on the link below:
4) Textile Job Advancement and Employment Outlook
There are so many opportunities and paths for career growth within the textile industry. Production workers in the textile industry can advance by becoming supervisors and some become instructors who teach new workers to run machinery. Others become technicians. Most companies have training programs for workers who want to move into more skilled jobs. Sometimes textile companies pay part or all of the tuition for job-related courses.
Textile technicians can also move into jobs as supervisors or instructors. With further education, they can become managers or engineers. Managers and engineers often advance into high-level executive positions in the textile industry.
The job outlook in the textile industry is excellent through 2021. This is due to the increasing demand for textiles and the use of synthetic fibers and computer-integrated machinery. Those with technical skills and computer training should have the best opportunities to rise within the company.
At STI we offer several paths to rise within the company and have some employees that have been here for over 40 years!
5) Textile Job Working Conditions
Working conditions are generally good in the textile industry. Newer mills have temperature and humidity controls to create a more comfortable work environment. Most employees work with machinery, which is often noisy, but the accident rate is fairly low in the textile industry. At STI, we have an onsite nurse available 4 days a week and free to all employees. We also have brand new cantinas fully stocked with healthy snacks, foods, and beverages available 24/7.
The work-week is usually forty hours long, although some workers work forty-six to forty-eight hours per week. Most textile mills have around-the-clock operations and run three shifts. The work is generally steady in the textile industry. When production slowdowns occur, most mills shut down for one or two days a week instead of laying off workers.
At STI we have three, eight hour shifts that operate 24 hours per day and seven days per week. Our overtime pay is equal to time and a half and we even offer double pay on Sunday shifts.
A Message From Our HR Department
For more info on starting your new career with STI or to Apply for Employment, please visit our Career Page by clicking the link below.