Nearly two years after the onset of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, the plastics industry is marking this year’s Manufacturing Day on Oct. 1 with a renewed sense of purpose.
Celebrated on the first Friday of October, Manufacturing Day and the month of events it kicks off is prime time for producers to spotlight the benefits of joining a modern, high-tech workforce. And with manufacturers seeking to fill at least four million high-skill jobs over the next decade, according to the Manufacturing Institute, the need is more urgent than ever.
Apropos of the heroic role plastics have played during the pandemic, this year’s Manufacturing Day features the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) as an industry sponsor.
“Manufacturing Day is an incredible opportunity for plastics companies to literally open their doors and show people the tremendous career opportunities in the manufacturing industry,” said Tony Radoszewski, President and CEO of PLASTICS.
Key industry players are planning to do just that. For instance, PTI Engineered Plastics of Macomb, MI, will host approximately 30 students from Eisenhower High School in Shelby Township, said John Budreau, PTI’s Director of New Business Development.
Diverse careers available in manufacturing
“Though students are on a tight schedule for this event, we are planning to provide an overview of a multitude of careers available in manufacturing,” Budreau said. “They will learn about the process of bringing a plastic component to market through the stages of design, tooling, manufacturing, and assembly.” Video of PTI employee interviews and facilities will be available for students who cannot attend.
Meanwhile, Hoffer Plastics of South Elgin, IL, will sponsor an open house for media that will showcase:
- Innovative career opportunities in manufacturing in a clean, high-tech environment with flexible work schedules.
- Advances in creating products that are more sustainable and better for the environment — of special concern to the public at large and young people in particular, the company noted.
- The integral role manufacturing plays in the United States.
|Left to right: Chief Culture Officer Charlotte Hoffer-Canning of Hoffer Plastics inspects equipment with Chief Revenue Officer Alex Hoffer and Chief Financial Officer Gretchen Hoffer Farb.|
Plastics in the time of COVID
As the pandemic threw a curveball to many industries and companies, the plastics industry hit the challenge out of the park.
Hoffer, for instance, pivoted to the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and health-related products like dispensers for hand sanitizers. And it did so while avoiding layoffs and maintaining customer service levels and community service commitments, the company noted.
Meanwhile, PTI “supported customers in the ventilator and oxygenator markets,” Budreau said. “We also developed and donated 150,000 face shields for PPE during the shortages that first responders were facing during the initial weeks and months of the pandemic. We support and produce many lifesaving and life-changing devices comprised of many plastic injection molded parts.” Among those, he said, are a backpack used by firefighters, a sizing template used to perform heart valve repair, and a technology that lets patients self-deliver medications at home, eliminating trips to a pharmacy or clinic.
Plastic materials “will continue to be a go-to choice as designers create new products,” he added, “primarily for cost, lightweight alternatives, aesthetics, and ease of manufacturing. Resin manufacturers and compounders continue to create engineered materials that offer new solutions for performance, durability, and custom color options.”
Ultimately, while short-term material and resource shortages continue to challenge the plastics industry and others, Manufacturing Day participants are eager to send a powerful message: Manufacturers not only make products that affect all aspects of people’s lives, they are committed to continuing to lead on environmental sustainability and social responsibility through continued innovation.
To find Manufacturing Day events across the country by location or company name, click here.