Manufacturing Day 2018 offers a much brighter picture than we've seen in a long time for young people seeking careers in manufacturing. With an extremely low unemployment rate, wages are rising and opportunities for on-the-job training and education have never been better.
This year, the Manufacturing Institute, the social impact arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), both headquartered in Washington, DC, are joining forces to educate the next generation on 21stcentury manufacturing opportunities. As a gold-level sponsor of Manufacturing Day, PLASTICS is providing substantial support for the nation’s largest one-day celebration of manufacturing, which focuses on showing young people, parents and educators the opportunities a career in manufacturing offers.
“Manufacturers need the next generation to join the team. We thank our many generous sponsors, like PLASTICS, who are working together to show young people the future they can create in modern manufacturing,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, who also serves as board chairman of the Manufacturing Institute. “Our industry is facing a workforce crisis—with far more jobs open than we have people to fill them. It’s a challenge all manufacturers are tackling, but it also presents promising opportunities for those looking for a meaningful, rewarding career.”
PLASTICS President and CEO William R. Carteaux commented, “The plastics industry will not realize its full capacity for growth and production unless companies take an active approach to workforce development. Manufacturing Day is the perfect opportunity for companies in our industry to connect with future generations and show people the ingenuity and innovation that jobs in plastic offer.”
Founded in 2012 by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, Manufacturing Day provides an annual opportunity for the manufacturing industry as a whole and the plastics industry, specifically, to showcase manufacturing careers. Many plastics processors and mold manufacturers open their companies to students and parents, proud to show them that today’s manufacturing sector offers leadership development and career opportunities in a clean, safe, technology-oriented environment.
More and more plastics companies and mold manufacturers are engaging with local high schools, community colleges and four-year colleges to create interest in manufacturing as a career. Many of these companies have started their own “universities,” such as Wilbert U, a program of Wilbert Plastic Services (Belmont, NC), that provides technical training and leadership education across all its locations in an online format that makes taking classes easy and convenient.
Apprenticeship programs for moldmaking, machine tool operation and mold design are coming back into vogue. Many were dissolved because of a lack of interest from young people, who were being encouraged to attend a four-year college or university, instead. Many of these students are learning the benefits of working while training and learning, the major one being that they gain high-paying skills without racking up enormous college debt.
“Our Manufacturing Day initiative provides so many great opportunities to show young people the endless possibilities of modern manufacturing and, thanks to the Plastics Industry Association’s leadership, I’m confident we’ll be able to inspire even more to picture themselves in an exciting new manufacturing career,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “Manufacturing faces an industry workforce crisis, with nearly a half million jobs going unfilled today and millions more projected to go unfilled in the years to come.
“That’s why the Manufacturing Institute, in concert with good partners like the Plastics Industry Association, works so hard every day to promote modern manufacturing and jumpstart new approaches to growing manufacturing talent, especially through important programs like this one.”
Each year, on the first Friday of October, Manufacturing Day gives manufacturers the opportunity to address the skills gaps they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the industry as a whole, said the Manufacturing Institute.
So, on October 5, open your doors, round up students in your area and show them today’s modern processing/molding and moldmaking facilities and introduce them to the many career possibilities.
What did you do to support Manufacturing Day on Oct. 5, 2018? Send us a photo and description of your activities, and we will publish the best ones.