October 7, 2022 is National Manufacturing Day in the United States. It is a day of special events introducing future professionals to myriad career opportunities in a variety of manufacturing industries. One day isn’t really enough, though, is it? The entire month of October is dedicated to promoting the impact manufacturing industries can have on a region’s economy, quality of life, and individuals’ career satisfaction.
Since 2012, the first Friday of October each year has been designated National Manufacturing Day. The purpose is to bring attention to the wonderful world of manufacturing, dispelling myths and negative stereotypes that hinder recruitment of future talent. Events include facility tours and open houses, virtual presentations, mobile interactive experiences, career fairs, a bus tour, and more.
Diverse industries are represented in this year’s events. Lasers, electronics, industrial equipment and robots, cabinetry, CNC machines, materials (metals, plastics, composites), healthcare products, and more are showcased in a mix of onsite and remote presentations. Nearly 500 registered events are scheduled for this year’s celebration of makers and making.
Anyone questioning the value of manufacturing careers to future generations should consider the following:
Online resources provide information needed to host or attend a Manufacturing Day event, including a listing on the official website. Affiliated organizations offer advice on participation, partnering with teachers and government officials, and generating publicity for events. The following tips eschew the standard formula used to plan and host events, seeking to create a more engaging, memorable, and inspiring Manufacturing Day.
Go beyond “canned” presentations. Lectures, videos, and guided tours are useful tools, but should not comprise the entirety of the event. Short attention spans require a more interactive experience to maintain interest. Suggestions:
Describe links between manufacturing and famous inventors, encouraging those that aspire to be innovators and entrepreneurs. Explain that these are complementary, not contradictory, pursuits.
Promote internship and apprenticeship opportunities to participants that demonstrate interest and aptitude. If your organization does not currently offer such a program, consider proposing one to executives, highlighting the benefits for both students and mentors.
Invite the parents of all student participants to join the event. Typically, only a few chaperones accompany student groups; however, it is likely that all of the students’ parents have been bombarded with misinformation about manufacturing for their entire lives! Correcting the record, in the minds of parents, removes a significant impediment to recruiting talented young people.
Don’t limit activities and advocacy to one day or month each year. Partner with teachers throughout the year to reinforce the connection between manufacturing and classroom topics. “When will you ever use this, you ask? Let me show you.” For example, seeing a plating process up close is far more engaging than a Chemistry textbook with a diagram labelled anode, cathode, and electrolyte! Events held for Manufacturing Day could be repeated throughout the year to reach a broader audience; virtual presentations can be made available for use at any time.
Manufacturing Day – the official website
The Manufacturing Institute
National Association of Manufacturers – NAM
Manufacturing USA – a public/private partnership
Tips for a High Impact Event – only the dates have changed.
7 Fun Manufacturing Month Ideas
Though Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s exact quote, or proper translation, is in dispute, it is nonetheless profound. One formulation is as follows:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
To paraphrase in the manufacturing context, discussing the job market, financial implications, or any tangible societal benefits that manufacturing industries provide will be only marginally effective. Instead, those of us in the industry need to share our passion, to foster curiosity, and to nurture the human impulse to build. Teaching younger generations to yearn for discovery will turn many of the endless possibilities into reality.
If your organization is unable to host a Manufacturing Day event this year, it is a good time to start planning for next year… or next month. There is no need to wait until October to launch your advocacy program. Make every day Manufacturing Day!
For additional guidance on Operations challenges or assistance with manufacturing industry advocacy, feel free to leave a comment, contact JayWink Solutions, or schedule an appointment.
Jody W. Phelps, MSc, PMP®, MBA
JayWink Solutions, LLC
If you'd like to contribute to this blog, please email email@example.com with your suggestions.
© JayWink Solutions, LLC