I was on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago last week and saw they've got a miniature "chocolate factory" set up in the store to help get kids interested in the process of making chocolate. Kids were eating it up (both the process AND the chocolate).
I remember all too well how when I was young, the shop floor where my dad worked was about the coolest place in the world. So if you take the big machines and the bright lights, plus add some candy -- could you get any sweeter a promotional opportunity for teaching kids about manufacturing?
Speaking of marketing manufacturing to young people, have you checked out the Dream It, Do It campaign recently?
They're continuing to pile up the good content across all the usual e-marketing channels (Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc.). Here's a YouTube video of a young QA guy, who just casually remarks that after he's done with his quality checks on the line, they take the bikes out on the road for a spin. The importance of thoroughness and all that, dontcha know.
NAM also has some great content on their "Cool Stuff Being Made" page, like this video of crude oil being refined:
Definitely encourage the young people you know to give these two YouTube channels a look for a highly accessible take on jobs in our sector. After all, we know that manufacturing can be a pretty sweet career choice (even without the chocolate!)