National Manufacturing Day celebrates the industry

October 5, 2012

Manufacturers across the country will be opening their doors to the general public and conducting guided tours of their facilities as part of the inaugural National Manufacturing Day.

A joint initiative by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the U.S. Commerce Department's Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Wisconsin MEP (WMEP) and Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center (IMEC), the celebration of U.S. manufacturing strategy is being held at factories across the country.

According to media outlets such as the Milwaukee Business Journal, organizers have dedicated October 5 as a day for manufacturers to demonstrate how important their industry is to the economy of the country as a whole, while giving an insight into the business strategy that drives production forward. The open house invitation will also include career workshops and manufacturing demonstrations, with the intention being to show high-school graduates and other students the benefits of working in the industry.

Studies by the Manufacturing Institute have shown that while 80 percent of Americans think that manufacturing is an integral part of future fiscal prosperity for the country, only 30 percent would want their children to join the workforce. With 600,000 positions vacant in manufacturing companies across the U.S., the search for qualified and enthusiastic talent is one of the problems that the industry faces.

"Manufacturing is a crucial part of the national economy," said Buckley Brinkman, executive director and CEO of the 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."

According to FMA, more than 12 million people work in manufacturing and the dedication of a day to celebrate not only the work they do but the products that are made has been echoed throughout the country. Companies in Wisconsin, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and California have all been planning for this day throughout the week, with many states putting on job fairs and manufacturing strategy expos to showcase the skills and diversity of the industry, with STEM education seen as the perfect background.

"Many Northern California residents do not realize what a large and diverse manufacturing base exists in their very own backyard," said Gene Russell, CEO of Manex, the MEP for Northern California. "From artisan bakers, candy makers, bicycle manufacturers and wine, beer and spirits producers, to extreme high tech manufacturers in the bio medical, computing, pharmacy and aerospace fields, we have it all right here."