Recently, a group of public and private organizations announced the launch of Manufacturing Day for October 5, 2012 to highlight the importance of manufacturing to the nation's economy and draw attention to the many rewarding high-skill jobs available in manufacturing fields.
The effort is being co-produced by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the U.S. Commerce Department's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Wisconsin MEP, Illinois MEP, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the Manufacturing Institute.
A long list of trade associations and private companies have joined the effort as sponsors that includes, but is not limited to, the Association of Manufacturing Excellence, EcO15, Manpower, National Tooling & Machining Association, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the U. S. Census Bureau, and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services.
The goal of the sponsors is to rally the manufacturing community to host open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events held at participating facilities to introduce as many people as possible to the important role played by manufacturing both in local communities and for the nation and the new manufacturing reality: clean and lean facilities with highly-skilled employees implementing advanced technologies and processes. The grassroots events will also introduce manufacturers to business improvement resources and services delivered through the MEP's network of more than 400 affiliated centers across the country.
"Manufacturing Day will be the ‘coming out party’ for U.S. manufacturers all across the nation," said Ed Youdell, president and CEO of FMA, a professional organization with nearly 2,500 members working together to improve the metal processing, forming and fabricating industry. "October 5th is dedicated to celebrating the great work and innovation of the 12 million men and women who make the United States the world's largest manufacturing economy. FMA and MEP centers are encouraging their members and manufacturers to open their doors to their local school kids, community college students, press, and job seekers so that they can see firsthand the safe, high-tech and innovative work environments that await the best and brightest who pursue careers in manufacturing."
"Manufacturing is a crucial part of the national economy," said Buckley Brinkman, executive director and CEO of WMEP. "It drives value creation, innovation and employment throughout the country, and we want to show our communities the opportunities available in manufacturing today. Our future depends on our ability to strengthen and advance this vital sector and Manufacturing Day can accelerate that process."
When the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) announced its sponsorship of “Manufacturing Day,” Chairman Roger Atkins said, “NTMA has long advocated ‘marketing manufacturing to America’ to promote the importance of our industry, and Manufacturing Day is an excellent way to publicize manufacturing and highlight the lucrative career opportunities available at our member companies. We are proud of our industry’s continuing growth and contributions to communities across America, and look forward to helping promote the industry on October 5th.”
“There are an estimated 600,000 job openings in manufacturing,” said NTMA President Dave Tilstone. “Our members work in key U.S. industries like aerospace and defense and some companies have a backlog of production extending to 2030. In order to capture these opportunities, companies must maintain and expand their skilled workforce by building the ranks of highly trained workers. Our industry offers great career opportunities to Americans looking for interesting and challenging career paths, and initiatives like ‘Manufacturing Day’ help to get that message across to a broader audience.” NTMA’s over 1,300 member companies design and manufacture special tools, dies, jigs, fixtures, gages, special machines and precision-machined parts.
For Young People, 'Seeing is Believing'
The SME Education Foundation recently announced its support for this national grassroots movement created to shine a bright and flattering light on manufacturing. The SME Foundation sees this as an opportunity for educators and parents to visit local employers with children, particularly those in middle school, to get them excited about the career opportunities available for those who have critically important STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills.
“The goal of Manufacturing Day is directly in line with our mission to inspire the nation’s youth to pursue education and careers in manufacturing-related fields. We are eager to lend our support to get the word out, and feel that with enough involvement from the manufacturing community, the impact could be significant,” said Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “You can talk to people all you want to try to change perceptions and stress the importance of a qualified future workforce, but seeing is believing. There is really no better way to get the message across than first-hand exposure.”
Studies by the nonprofit Manufacturing Institute and others show that almost 80% of Americans believe manufacturing is important to our economic prosperity, standard of living and national security. Yet, only 30% would encourage their children to go into manufacturing as a career. The hope is that by providing media, educators, parents, and kids with an inside look at the high-tech world of manufacturing, this percentage will begin to grow.
With the gap growing each year between the skills students learn in school and those they will need on the job, it is increasingly difficult for manufacturers to find and hire qualified employees. By promoting Manufacturing Day, manufacturing associations and other organizations led by NIST MEP centers and the FMA said they want to remove some of the myths surrounding manufacturing. For example, manufacturing is not a dying sector but rather a solid, long-term career choice for qualified candidates—including the young people who will form the workforce of tomorrow.
The SME Education Foundation plans to promote Manufacturing Day through its industry partners including academia, business and industry including SME Chapters and Student Chapters. PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) launched last year by the Foundation, is an inter-connected grid of community-based manufacturers, schools, small businesses and local Chambers of Commerce which will influence the grass roots participation for this event.
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists for the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit www.smeef.org. Also visit www.CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers and www.ManufacturingisCool.com, the award-winning website for young people.
Here are a few reasons why we should acknowledge the importance of manufacturing by observing October 5th as Manufacturing Day:
- Manufacturing is the foundation of the American economy, and high-paying manufacturing jobs spurred a robust and growing economy and improved our quality of life. Manufacturing jobs were responsible for the lower working class rising into the middle class the last century.
- Manufacturing is critical to our national defense because American manufacturers supply the military with the essential needed to defend our country. Without a strong manufacturing industry, America could lose future wars.
- Manufacturing wages and benefits are 25-50% higher than non-manufacturing jobs. Only 16% of today’s workers earn $20/hour ─ down 60% since 1979.
- United States is the world’s third largest exporter after China & Germany. Manufactured goods make up more than 60% of U. S. exports, and high-tech products are largest export sector – four times as much as agriculture.
- Manufacturing supports states’ economies through the taxes they pay. Manufacturing is the largest sector in 10 states, second largest in 9 states, and third largest in 21 states. Losing the critical mass of manufacturing will result in larger state and federal budget deficits. Over 90% of all manufacturers are small businesses of less than 100 people.
To learn more about Manufacturing Day or to sign up to host or participate in one of the events, log on to www.mfgday.com or call 888-394-4362. Organizations that wish to become involved as official sponsors of this program should call 888-394-4362 or email [email protected].