National Manufacturing Day — MFG Day, for short — has over the past few years helped to spotlight careers in the sector. Facing a dire shortage of skilled workers, this year is particularly important for manufacturers and other stakeholders to reach out to their communities and connect with students to develop a future workforce pipeline.
Many community colleges are again partnering on various MFG Day events, which often include opening their training facilities to allow students and the general public to see the latest in advanced manufacturing or inviting local businesses to make presentations. Last year, MFG Day — which is held the first Friday of October — produced more than 620 registered events around the U.S., according to according to the Manufacturing Institute, which founded the program.
Helping during the strike
The ongoing auto industry strike has caused a wrinkle for annual activities in several communities. Some of the car-making facilities that often participate in the annual event are unable to do so this year because of the strike and resulting layoffs among some auto-industry suppliers. But other manufacturers in several of those areas are stepping up to fill the vacancies, as well as reliable partners such as Lansing Community College. The Michigan college has hosted Manufacturing Day for more than a decade. It offers tours of its facilities for those attending a press conference and includes remarks from local leaders, its president and students, who tell how they decided to pursue a career in manufacturing and their experiences so far.
MFG Day activities delve into the different skills needed for myriad jobs in the sector. Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) in Sanford, North Carolina, for example, will again hold an open house on October 6 at its E. Eugene Moore Manufacturing and Biotech Solutions Center, where representatives from local industries will showcase their company and products, present potential career opportunities and increase manufacturing awareness. CCCC faculty will also provide program information related to careers in manufacturing.
At the event, students and others in the community get to see live demos of 3D printing, laser cutting and virtual welding, as well as other engaging hands-on activities.
Around the country
In Ohio, Sinclair Community College is again hosting the event for students who participate in the FlexFactor program — a collaborative technology and entrepreneurship program, funded by the Department of Defense, that allows high school students to explore advanced manufacturing. Participating students get a brief introduction to the various manufacturing programs offered in the college’s science, mathematics and engineering division, including biotechnology, computer sciences and information technology, electronics and robotics, and more.
In Iowa, Hawkeye Community College is teaming with the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and Cedar Valley Makers. They will offer tours of the Hawkeye Community College Automation and Robotics Center and UNI Foundry 4.0 Center, and run presentations throughout the day on the Internet of Things, building a workforce of the future, and business and tech goal alignment.
Related article: National MFG Day spotlights manufacturing
Although MFG Day is centered around October 6, some organizations are running events related to manufacturing throughout the month. Hawkeye Community College, for example, will host the annual Cedar Valley Manufacturing Conference on October 18, focusing on “Industry 5.0” — the emerging phase of industrialization where people increasingly work with robots and smart machines. The conference will also have discussions on recruitment and retention; a presentation on appreciating clients, customers and coworkers; and becoming more sustainable.
In California, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting also has extended the outreach activities of MFG Day beyond one day with its Manufacturing Month CA, which includes several community colleges.