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Oct. 3, Manufacturing is in the Neighborhood

This article originally appeared in the Commerce Blog. Guest blog post by Zara Brunner and Mark Schmit, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The first Friday of the month might not normally stand out, but the first Friday of October is a very big deal to us at the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) program. Every day we help small and mid-size manufactures innovate and grow, but today we help them celebrate Manufacturing Day (MFG Day).

On MFG Day, the public gets the chance to see what modern manufacturing is all about and we’re hoping you’ll join us at one of more than 1,500 open houses, factory tours, job fairs and other events across the country. There’s a good chance there’s something exciting happening not far from your own neighborhood.

Manufacturing plays an important role in our economy at both the national and local levels. It’s responsible for 12.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and every day, more than 16 million of our neighbors go to work in manufacturing. Many of them have been hard at work for months planning MFG Day activities with their companies, local MEP centers and communities.

MFG Day reflects the diversity of manufacturing. Manufacturers are hosting events in fields as ranging from consumables, textiles, cosmetics, optics, electronics, aerospace, energy, robotics, to nanotechnology and more. Visitors will learn how they make everything from ukuleles, jeans and jewelry, motorcycles, and airplanes, to one million cookies an hour.

Small and mid-size manufacturers will open their doors along with large companies such as Northrop Grumman, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Sandvik Coromant, Volvo, Taylor Guitars, Johnson & Johnson, Herman Miller, Leatherman, and TaylorMade Golf.

MEP centers across the country have focused their energies on MFG Day and its potential to attract the next generation of skilled employees. New Jersey MEP and 40 partners will celebrate women’s contributions to manufacturing; the Florida Advanced Technical Education Center (FLATE), a National Science Foundation Center, and its collaborators will support student tours of more than 50 high-tech manufacturing facilities; in Massachusetts, MassMEP and state partners created a new Applied Manufacturing Technology Pathway Certification to promote careers in manufacturing and to create a standard instruction set and evaluation process; and in Portland, Ore., OMEP will kick of its MFG Day celebrations today with a sold-out screening of the American Made Movie. These are just a few of the activities that will bring together manufacturers, community members, government officials, educators, students and all the people who contribute to and benefit from a strong manufacturing sector.

The Commerce Department and other government agencies are joining the celebration. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will join President Obama on a visit to Millennium Steel in Princeton, Ind.; Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews is visiting Northrop Grumman; and Acting Under Secretary for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May will visit several companies in Delaware.

If you can’t make it to an event, or simply want to see more, MFG Day media sponsor Science Channel will air round-the-clock episodes of HOW IT'S MADE, showcasing the fascinating, technologically-advanced world of manufacturing. The Science Channel is supporting MFG Day across its portfolio, including the cable network,, social media platforms, and tours of its post-production studio at Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, Md.

At the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is our job to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved standards of living for all Americans—our neighbors. On MFG Day we celebrate the industry that helps make this happen. Join us and see what what’s being made in your neighborhood:

From your neighbors at NIST MEP!

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 with a focus on economics from State University of New York at Fredonia. Prior to joining OAM, Zara managed marketing and communications at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which she joined in 2011.  At MEP, she oversaw internal and external marketing and communications about the program and its National Network of Centers.

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