On October 6, hundreds of companies all over California opened its doors to the public to celebrate Manufacturing Day.
Observed every year on the first Friday of October, Manufacturing Day is an event to highlight the contributions of American manufacturers within their communities and to inspire the younger population in pursuing a career in engineering and manufacturing.
Among the obstacles that many manufacturers encounter is that youths are not attracted to jobs within this industry. This is an issue that needed to be addressed for the future of the manufacturing workforce. Majority of the participants of Manufacturing Day have hosted K-12 and college students within their facilities to introduce new career possibilities for them and change their perception by exposing them to modern manufacturing.
Here’s an article by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the positive impact of Manufacturing Day:
Back in 2012, when Manufacturing Day began, the ambitious goal of affecting the public’s perception of manufacturing with the goal of inspiring more people to pursue manufacturing careers was put into place. The idea that manufacturing involved repetitive, unskilled tasks that happened in dark, dirty factories needed to be corrected and show people what manufacturing really looks like.
The fact is, today’s manufacturing jobs are highly skilled. Not only that, but they take place in some of the most exciting, innovative work environments anywhere.
The thought behind MFG DAY was therefore: Bring the public to real manufacturing environments and let them see for themselves. What better way to overcome any lingering negative stereotypes than to expose them for the misrepresentations that they are?
It seemed obvious, and all signs pointed to the theory working the first couple of years, but we didn’t have any way to measure the effects of public perception until 2015, when Deloitte became a sponsor of MFG DAY and brought its field research acumen to the initiative.
SHIFTING STUDENTS’ ATTITUDES TOWARD MANUFACTURING
According to Deloitte’s 2015 survey, 81 percent of students who attended MFG DAY events emerged “more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding.”
This percentage rose to 84 percent in 2016. Projections indicate that roughly 600,000 people attended MFG DAY events in 2016 and that 267,000 of them were students. That means that nearly 225,000 students walked away from their MFG DAY 2016 event with a more positive perception of manufacturing, according to Deloitte’s findings.
Not only that, but Deloitte’s survey shows that 71 percent of student attendees both years said that they “were more likely to tell friends, family, parents, or colleagues about manufacturing after attending an event,” meaning that they weren’t just convinced — they were inspired.
To take it a step further, 64 percent of surveyed MFG DAY 2016 student event attendees — up from 62 percent in 2015 — said that they “were more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing.” Based on the 267,000 student attendance figure, that’s potentially 171,000 new members of a next-generation manufacturing workforce.
THE ROAD AHEAD
While the figures documented in the Deloitte surveys are relatively small compared to the 3.5 million U.S. skilled manufacturing jobs Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute project will need to be filled between 2015–2025, they’re a start. If MFG DAY keeps growing — and keeps shifting the perceptions of hundreds of thousands of people — each year, the numbers will quickly total in the millions.
The truth is, MFG DAY’s ambitious goals — to change public perception of manufacturing, inspire students to pursue manufacturing careers, and strengthen the future of manufacturing by avoiding the talent shortage on the horizon — can’t be accomplished in a single year, or even in the six years that MFG DAY has been around. These are massive undertakings that require ongoing commitment to realize.
The beauty of MFG DAY is that while the goals are big, the premise is simple. It all starts with manufacturers, schools, and other organizations involved in manufacturing opening their doors to show students, parents, and educators what modern manufacturing is
On this year’s Manufacturing Day, The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Silicon Valley Chapter organized an event for students from Tri-Valley high schools and Las Positas College which included tours of manufacturers’ facilities in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin. Companies that participated in this event include LAM Research, Gillig, Topcon Positioning Systems, Bakefresh of Northern California, AMP Printing and Peridot
The event was also open to manufacturing employment specialists so members of the SoloPoint Solutions team joined the group at the Five Rivers Aviation Hangar. SoloPoint COO Tom Sons said, “This was a great opportunity for local high school students to discuss their plans on becoming the next generation of Silicon Valley Engineers.”
To learn how SoloPoint can help in staffing your manufacturing team, call us today at (408)246-5945 or (714)708-3639.