In spite of the significant drop in manufacturing employment in the Fort Smith region, as reported by citywire.com, it is still among the area's largest employment sectors and Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Tim Allen said that was why Manufacturing Day is being celebrated locally.
"Manufacturing is part and parcel of Fort Smith's DNA," Allen said. "The chance to recognize the importance of this national focus is exciting. Particularly when you realize Fort Smith's history and future when it comes to manufacturing."
The Fort Smith area manufacturing sector employed an estimated 18,000 in August, down from 18,200 in July, and down from 18,400 August 2013, as reported by Ryan Saylor. Sector employment is down almost 37% from a decade ago when August 2004 manufacturing employment in the metro area stood at 28,400.
However the sector is still growing in terms of innovation. The city is taking the day to celebrate the new certificate program in robotics created at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. The program received $300,000 from Gov. Mike Beebe to help launch the program, as well as receiving a donation of equipment from Baldor. A tour of the new robotics lab at the Baldor Technology Center on the university campus is being held today.
Baldor will also open its manufacturing plant to the public. "Through this year's event we will share best practices with other local manufacturers, educate the community on the impact manufacturing has on the regional economy, and raise awareness of the career opportunities manufacturing provides," the company said on the National Manufacturing Day website.
Throughout the state there will be 21 events honoring Manufacturing Day.
Check out IndustryWeek's complete coverage of Manufacturing Day 2014.