National Manufacturing Day: Strengthening Manufacturing’s FutureNov 01, 2018
By: Meaghan Ziemba, Content Marketing Manager, AME
This past October was not just about cooler weather, Halloween, and pumpkin-flavored everything. It also hosted National Manufacturing Day—an annual event that occurs the first Friday of October and plays a vital role in powering the next chapter of modern American production and innovation.
The event began in 2011 and involved several thousand plant tours across the United States and Canada. To this day, it allows manufacturers to open their doors to their local communities in a collective effort to achieve the following goals:
Change the public perception that manufacturing is dirty, dark, dull, and dangerous.
Inspire our young people to pursue careers in modern manufacturing and engineering.
Strengthen the future of manufacturing by avoiding the talent shortage on the horizon.
Changing the Public Perception of Manufacturing
It is no secret that over the next decade 3.5 million manufacturing job openings will be left unfilled due to the growing skill shortage. The general misconception that manufacturing is dirty, dark, dangerous, and dull is discouraging younger generations from pursuing careers related to the field.
National Manufacturing Day provides companies a chance to change the attitudes and opinions of the public by offering facility tours. The tours allow parents and students to see, first-hand, the opportunity, creativity, possibility, and accomplishment that comes with a career in the industry.
According to a survey done by Deloitte in 2015, 81 percent of students who attended MFG Day events emerged “more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding.” This percentage rose to 84 percent in 2016.
Inspiring Younger Generations to Pursue Manufacturing Careers
Facility tours are crucial to inspiring the next generation of manufacturing because they provide hands-on experience with the actual product being produced. Parents, students, educators, media, and policymakers get an up-close, personal view of the amazing work manufacturers do on a daily basis.
They get to experience the company culture, work environment, and history of the brand. They get to speak to current employees and ask them questions on what they like most about the industry. More importantly, they get to witness how integral manufacturing is to the local, national, and global economy.
Strengthening the Workforce of Tomorrow by Closing the Skills Gap
The personal experiences of today’s engineers and manufacturers are what will truly inspire the industry’s workforce of tomorrow, so it is crucial that we all work together towards the same goal. To start closing the skills gap, we need to grab the attention of younger generations, and National Manufacturing Day is one way to do so.
Once we gain their attention, we need to provide learning and work opportunities that provide them the basic skills necessary for success. Most companies provide “get paid to learn” opportunities through apprenticeships. The apprenticeships combine class learning with hands-on experience, so the students are ready to work the shop floor once they graduate.
Companies that participate in Manufacturing Day are helping to build a steady pipeline of qualified workers the industry craves and needs to thrive. They are also helping to re-establish the United States as a global leader of manufacturing education that will continue to strengthen the very future of the industry. The fate of manufacturing is contingent on future generations, so it is up to us to make sure they succeed.