Friday, October 6, 2017, is a very special day in Michigan – Manufacturing Day. Thousands of students and hundreds of manufacturers across the state and the nation will come together to explore 21st century career opportunities. Middle and high school students will attend site visits, career presentations, participate in hands-on activities, and receive prizes as part of the day’s events. More than 2,000 manufacturing facilities, schools (225,000 students) and professional societies participated last year. Some 215 events were held in Michigan.
It’s an excellent way to educate your students about career opportunities in manufacturing, while at the same time connect with businesses in the community.
The National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute are leading this awareness effort. Started in 2012, Manufacturing Day is an annual celebration of modern manufacturing. Manufacturers invite students, parents, educators, businesspeople and politicians to their facilities in a collective effort to educate visitors about manufacturing careers and improve public perceptions of manufacturing.
Manufacturing jobs are no longer the dull, dark, dirty, dead end and dangerous vocation they once were. Challenging careers in supply chain, quality, information technology, engineering, technical and operations are ready and waiting for candidates. Today’s manufacturing is not your grandfather’s manufacturing!
Our nation is facing a critical shortage of skilled manufacturing talent. Millions of challenging, high-wage jobs cannot be filled. Streamlined production lines, coupled with increasingly automated processes and reliance upon advanced technologies that utilize fully connected computer-controlled processes, advanced robotics, and new manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing contain the skills challenges employee candidates face.
Manufacturers are facing a critical shortage of qualified candidates emerging from the K-12 education system, particularly candidates with adequate STEM skills. Manufacturers cannot win the race to compete in the global marketplace without the talents your students possess.
In 2016, Michigan led the nation in number of events and participants. Sixty-four percent of participants indicated that they would like to pursue a manufacturing career!
Find videos, lesson plans, teacher guides, how to find a host company, virtual events and special events information on Manufacturing Day online. The core event is the manufacturer’s open house where teachers, students and parents can see what manufacturing is today. Broaden the network, engage your Board of Directors and their business contacts to recruit local firms to host a Manufacturing Day event for your school.
The Manufacturing Institute has additional resources and documentation to support education’s participation in Manufacturing Day. The Institute also provides skill certification systems (three years, 290,000 certifications) that are recognized by employers throughout the nation.
Help your students find success in their future. Take advantage of this opportunity to identify future board members, scholarships, internship opportunities and apprenticeships, while building relationships within your school’s community.
Chuck Fellows is a retired manufacturing manager and the former school board president of FlexTech High School, a charter school in Brighton.