Manufacturing Day offers career exploration opportunity

TRAVERSE CITY — Two dozen local manufacturers will open their doors to 600 area middle and high school students, triple the inaugural 2014 attendance, as Traverse City marks its second annual Manufacturing Day Oct. 2.

Manufacturing Day is an annual national event designed to showcase the career opportunities modern manufacturing technology offers. Last year eight manufacturers in the Traverse City Airport Industrial Park hosted 200 students, with each student visiting three busineses. This year, students will again visit three manufacturers located on eight different bus loops in Grand Traverse and Kalkaska counties. Representing industries including automotive manufacturing, food production, precision tool and screen printing, the event is designed to showcase the diversity and opportunity of manufacturing careers to a future potential workforce.

“It shows students that there’s another avenue after high school,” said Dan Oberski, principal at Traverse City West High School, which will send students to the event.  “It’s been something that’s been overlooked for so long.”

Overlooked because manufacturing today is a far cry from the Industrial Revolution-era images students might see in their textbooks, of dirty, gritty, largely urban factories.

“Manufacturing Day illustrates we have some real booming, bustling businesses right here in town,” Oberski said.

NMC Training Specialist Kennith Scott said engaging students is key to local manufacturers, who face the dilemma of growing markets but an aging skilled workforce.

“It’s just putting energy into the problem and getting the community to see the opportunities,” in skilled trades like machining, fabrication and welding, Scott said.

Northwestern Michigan College is coordinating the event in collaboration with the Grand Traverse Area Manufacturing Council. Participating manufacturers include Kennametal, RM Young Co., Clark MFG, SMI Aerospace, National Vacuum Equipment, CPM Extrusion, Tool North, Tran Tek, Forkardt, Microline, Plascon, United Engineering Tooling, Britten Studios, TentCraft, Bay Motor Products, SMI Automotive, Cone Drive, Strata Design, Cherry Capitol Foods, RJG , Kalkaska Screw, Coding Products and Hayes Manufacturing

Established in 2012, Manufacturing Day seeks to expand knowledge about and improve the general public’s perception of manufacturing careers and the industry’s value to the U.S. economy. The Traverse City event is one of more than 1,000 planned around the nation.

RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2015