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October 07, 2016

National Manufacturing Day Addresses the Industry's Biggest Challenge

Happy National Manufacturing Day!

As I mentioned my previous post, National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) is meant to highlight the industry and introduce it to the next generation of workers. Today, October 7, more than 2,500 events are taking place in the U.S. and Canada — everything from roundtable discussions to plant tours for community members and, especially, K through 12 students and teachers. (Seriously, you should check out the events in your area. There’s a nifty interactive map on the MFG Day website.)

While it’s cool and correct to celebrate those folks who build/produce/make stuff that we all buy or consume, it’s also vitally important to make sure there’s an educated workforce eager to take over the jobs that exist, and to fill the jobs that will be created in the future.

National_Manufacturing_Day_students_facilityFilling the talent pipeline is vital. Job #1. That’s the finding of Deloitte’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index (GMCI) released earlier this year. In fact, manufacturing executives worldwide consider workforce “the most critical driver of global manufacturing competitiveness.” It’s a sentiment I’ve certainly heard in my experience interviewing CEOs and other C-suite execs.

And that’s why initiatives like MFG Day are so important.

For years, industry leaders have made the case that manufacturing offers some of the best paying jobs available. They’ve fought the perception that manufacturing is “dirty, dark and dangerous.” This year we have data from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute showing that, thanks to programs like MFG Day, the message is sinking in.

Check out the stats in this infographic that measure how MFG Day is positively impacting the perception of the industry and its career options:

 InfographicmanufacturingDay_03.jpg

Look, I’m not telling you something you don’t know. If you’re involved in manufacturing, you know that the workforce is aging and in many cases not replacing itself. So maybe you hadn’t heard of MFG Day before, or maybe you heard of it but thought it was just a waste of time.

The data shows it’s not a waste a time.

Maybe you’re outside the U.S. where MFG Day isn’t a thing.

You can make it a thing.

Open your doors. Engage with your community and education leaders at every level. Drill down to students not just in high school but in the lower grades. Be vocal and supportive of STEM education. And next year, when the first Friday in October rolls around, host your own event. Show the community what goes on inside your four walls. Tell your story. 

If your company was involved in MFG Day activities, we'd love to hear about it. Please use the Comments section below to let us know how you celebrated!

Photo by Mallory Micetich/National Association of Manufacturers

Filed Under: News, Manufacturing, workforce