Posted at 9:32 AM
Guest blog post by Zara Brunner, National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership
Get a glimpse of modern manufacturing on October 2
As someone who works to support manufacturing in the United States, I’m constantly amazed by the remarkable number of opportunities manufacturing offers to job-seekers, communities and the nation. I also find it remarkable how manufacturing seems to be such a well-kept secret; the general public has some pretty big misconceptions about what it means to work in manufacturing.
This is where Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) comes in. For the past four years, a community of advocates including manufacturing executives, front-line workers, federal and state supporters and countless others, has been coordinating and promoting public events focused on manufacturing. Their goal: to make sure the secret gets out—that manufacturing offers many rewarding, middle class jobs in a diverse array of specialties.
Manufacturing jobs include research and development, engineering, management, front line production and more. These jobs are secure and pay higher than average salaries. And yet, many manufacturers are facing a shortage of employees to take over as older workers retire. What that means, according to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, is that by 2025 there will be 2 million unfilled jobs in the U.S.
If you’re a student, parent, educator or job-seeker, a MFG Day event can show you the many opportunities these openings represent.
Last year, MFG Day included more than 1,600 open houses, tours and other events in every state in the union. And we’re on track to surpass 2,000 this year.
As a parent, I often look for ways to spark interest in my children, inspire their future, and point them on a solid path for success. I’m looking forward to taking them to Camden Yards on MFG Day-eve to not only enjoy their favorite pastime (baseball), but also to see firsthand what gets made in their home state at a Made in Maryland expo during a Major League Baseball game.
The Maryland MEP center teamed with RMI (Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland) to host the event, which will include a pre-party for participating manufacturers, their employees and families. The national anthem will even be performed by a musician playing a Maryland-made guitar. And if you watch the game, you’ll see about 1,000 people seated in the Maryland Manufacturing Day section wearing MFG Day t-shirts.
Also in Baltimore, the Northrop Grumman Corporation will host an event that lets kids help kids, and get a chance to learn about advanced manufacturing. Students will assemble 3D-printed hands (created by the company’s engineers) that will be distributed to children who need them. This awesome activity is also occurring in Northrop’s Charlottesville, Va., location as a result of its partnership with Enabling the Future.
Across the country, events like this aim to help people understand modern manufacturing. Metropolitan Detroit will be the site of one of the largest celebrations. With the assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, more than 2,500 high school students will get a chance to see manufacturing in action and meet people who make things on October 2. Students will also learn more about the variety of educational pathways that lead to rewarding careers in the industry.
In one Michigan county alone, nearly 60 manufacturers of all sizes and representing many industry sectors will offer tours. To make the most of the events, earlier in the year manufacturers hosted high school principals to educate them on employment opportunities and the types of skills they’re looking for in the workforce. The county will offer a follow-up “Careers in MFG Expo” in December in collaboration with Macomb Community College. One of the companies involved decided to also form an academy to inspire students to consider careers in the industry.
MFG Day All Month Long
Like a few other states around the country, the manufacturing sector is celebrated with a full month of events and programs in Connecticut (as part of the state’s Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. program).
This is an exciting time for Connecticut, which just became one of only two dozen regions designated by the U.S. Department of Commerce as members of the Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership (IMCP) initiative. The program will leverage economic development funding for workforce, supply chain and innovation, and will give Connecticut aerospace and shipbuilding companies a competitive advantage for federal funding.
Among the CONNSTEP (the MEP center in Connecticut) clients and manufacturing partners holding open house events on MFG Day are Associated Spring – Barnes Group, Bauer, Dymotek (at its Ellington location), Marion Manufacturing, Pegasus, Sikorsky and Birken. The month-long observation will also feature an array of events and discussions, including:
- Manufacturing Mania! for 200 middle school students in Bristol
- Making it Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit in Groton, where female manufacturing leaders will hold roundtable sessions with more than 150 middle school and high school girls from Connecticut and Rhode Island
- Student Day at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, a division of United Technologies Corporation
With all of the benefits a career in manufacturing offers individuals, it’s not surprising that manufacturing also benefits our nation. For every $1 in goods produced, the manufacturing industry returns $1.37 to the economy. That adds up to $2.09 trillion dollars, which is large enough for U.S. manufacturing to be the 8th largest economy in the world! And behind all of this incredible output and production are 12 million American men and women who make the things that enable our everyday lives.
You can find an event near you on our MFG Day events page or follow #MFGDay15 on Twitter to see what’s happening in your area. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about the exciting careers manufacturing has to offer.