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Live from Across the Country, It’s Manufacturing Day

What has close to 3,000 events across the nation with more than a half million people learning about manufacturing careers and what gets made in communities across the country?  None other than Manufacturing Day (MFG Day).

Sandwiched between National Walk to School Day (which my son’s elementary school celebrated) and the federal holiday of Columbus Day, is this celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Let me tell you what it is and why it matters.

In a nutshell, manufacturers need skilled workers and parents, educators, and students may not understand the types of rewarding, living wage careers that manufacturing offers.  MFG Day exists in order to educate the public on what modern American manufacturing is all about.

Manufacturing Makes This Country

Manufacturing drives the economy and makes up nearly 11.8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product and employs more than 12.3 million men and women in communities across the country. It provides great career opportunities for engineers, designers, machinists, computer programmers, welders, researches, managers and even communicators (like me).  There are all sorts of data substantiating just how important the manufacturing industry is in the U.S. Here’s an infographic that helps illuminate the point.

Facts About Manufacturing Infographic

Current and Future Challenges

According to The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 and Beyond, a study conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, 90 percent of Americans believe manufacturing is very important to economic prosperity.  However, only one out of three parents would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing.  By 2025, the skills gap in manufacturing is estimated to grow to 2 million—that’s 2 million more jobs than there are skilled people to fill them.  Manufacturers need a talent pipeline of workers with technology/computer skills, problem solving skills, basic technical training, and math skills.

Solutions

Based on the same study, we understand that those familiar with manufacturing are twice as likely to encourage a child to pursue a career in the field.  Enter Manufacturing Day.

Typically commemorated on the first Friday in October of every year (October 6, 2017, this year), thousands of manufacturers and educational institutions across the nation participate by hosting open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events.  MFG Day is critical to inspiring the next generation of manufacturing workers through events that demonstrate that modern manufacturing is innovative, high-tech, and provides well-paid, stable jobs.  It also lets educators, parents and students know the types of skills and training these jobs require.

Last year, a Deloitte survey of students who attended Manufacturing Day events found that:

  • 89 percent reported being more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities,
  • 84 percent were more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding,
  • 64 percent were more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing, and
  • 71 percent were more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing after attending an event.

So today, the MEP National Network supports manufacturers across the country that are participating in Manufacturing Day to tackle this challenge. Together, these community partners will improve the public perception of manufacturing and inspire the next generation of manufacturers.  Learn more on social media by searching #MFGDay17 and see what’s happening in a community near you.  

About the author

Zara Brunner

Zara Brunner is the communications director at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Office of Advanced Manufacturing (OAM). Zara received a B.A. with honors in political science...

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