By Ed Youdell, President & CEO, Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Intl.
In October, thousands of manufacturers, colleges and trade schools across the country will celebrate Manufacturing Day by opening their doors and inviting young people to experience modern manufacturing. The annual national event, executed at the local level, is designed to dispel the prevalent misconceptions about our industry and also address the serious skilled labor gap that now exists.
It is estimated that nearly 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to manufacturers’ inability to find talent with the required skills. Numerous manufacturing jobs will be available for those with the desired talents.
The fourth annual Manufacturing Day on Friday, Oct. 2, is designed to show a whole new generation of young people how today’s manufacturing is all about advanced technologies, state of the art facilities and fast paced work environments. It’s also an opportunity to show parents the kind of work that takes place in manufacturing plants.
Students, teachers, parents and job seekers can see for themselves that manufacturing provides clean, safe, high-tech environments in which to pursue challenging, creative, well-paid careers. By participating, we anticipate more young people will want to follow a manufacturing career path.
Take Chris Monzyk, for example. He was a student at Ozarks Technical College in 2013 when he was part of a Manufacturing Day tour at Detroit Tool & Engineering in Lebanon, Mo. Intrigued by what he saw and identified by the company as a possible potential recruit, Monzyk was offered an opportunity to join the firm. Today, he proudly works as a machinist in the 109-person company that builds tools, dies and custom automation systems.
“I like to work with my hands,” said Monzyk. “It sounds cliché, but working at DTE is fun, exciting and new every day. I get to make something from virtually nothing.”
And then there is Micah Rider who, as a high school student in 2013, took a Manufacturing Day tour arranged through Wichita Area Technical College (WATC). By 2014 he had graduated and was enrolled at WATC and was leading one of its facility tours on Manufacturing Day.
Rider is excited about his pursuit of a manufacturing career and getting other kids to follow in his path. “I ask kids, ‘what do you like to do? Do you like to play with Legos? Have you ever thought about building stuff’?” he said.
Manufacturers who open their doors for Manufacturing Day 2015 are not only educating their communities about career opportunities, they also may discover a new employee or two.
By reengaging local communities to showcase their manufacturing sector and demonstrate the contribution that manufacturing makes to the local economy, we can ensure a better future and way of life for our children and grandchildren. Our future depends on our ability to strengthen and advance this vital sector of our nation’s economy.
To learn more about Manufacturing Day, including locations that will be offering tours, and tools and advice to plan a celebration, visit www.mfgday.com.
Ed Youdell is President and CEO of Rockford, Ill.-based Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, (FMA) a professional organization with nearly 2,500 members working to improve the metal fabricating and forming industry. Manufacturing Day is supported by a panel of co-producers comprised of the FMA, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and guest producer Industrial Strength Marketing (ISM). The national media partners are Edge Factor and the Science Channel and the national movie partner is American Made Movie.