Ceramic and Glass Manufacturers are Gearing Up for a Challenge
Manufacturing Day 2014 will be a celebration of all things manufacturing.
According to a 2011 report by the National Association of Manufacturers, 67% of manufacturers struggle with a shortage of skilled workers, and 56% believe the need will only increase in the next few years. Aging baby boomers are retiring in droves, and statistics show that schools and parents rarely encourage students to consider manufacturing careers. Yet many people in the U.S. still believe a strong manufacturing industry is crucial to economic success. Companies and policymakers alike are trying to answer the big question: How should these problems be addressed to ensure a thriving future for U.S. manufacturing?
October 3 marks the third annual effort to bring these issues to light. Manufacturing Day 2014 will be a celebration of all things manufacturing: a chance for manufacturers to dispel misconceptions about their day-to-day work, a chance for local companies to strengthen community connections, and a chance for participants to discover the valuable opportunities that can be found in the world of manufacturing.
The MFG DAY Story
Manufacturing Day began as a grassroots initiative in 2012. A group of four industry organizations—the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA); the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM); The Manufacturing Institute; and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)—came together to produce a national Manufacturing Day at the suggestion of Ed Youdell, president and CEO of FMA.
Their goal was to change public perception about manufacturing from the old notion that it is unpleasant, dangerous work that requires very little skill, to the reality of a highly technical and rewarding career environment. “What we endeavored to do was get manufacturers to open their doors to their communities and their school systems in an effort to show off who they are, to brag a little bit about what manufacturing looks like,” says Mark Schmit, national accounts manager with MEP. “There seems to be this sense out there that manufacturing is old and dingy and dirty, and we just don’t believe that to be true. We figured the easiest way to debunk that is to have manufacturers invite people in from the community and say ‘Hey, come check us out. We’re a viable entity, we provide good jobs, and we want you to know that we are here.’”
An assortment of resources was created for manufacturers, educational institutions and other facilities across the nation to host open houses and other events that illuminate the potential of modern manufacturing. More than 7,000 people participated in the first year, and the movement continues to grow. In 2013, 831 open houses drew more than 35,000 attendees.
In 2012 and 2013, Manufacturing Day participants designed a variety of exciting events for visitors to explore; participation is expected to expand and diversify even more in 2014. “We have a national team of co-producers that attempt to create and provide resources at the national level for folks to use at the local level to create and plan events as well as register to attend events,” says Zara Brunner, a member of MEP’s communications team. “This is the third year producing Manufacturing Day. We hear refinements from the field in terms of what they’re looking for and what could be useful, so we hope that we’re continuously improving those resources.”
Facility tours and open houses give the public a chance to witness manufacturing processes and technologies first hand. Live presentations, videos or lectures are also popular approaches. Other hosts choose to connect with audiences via a roundtable or a hands-on exhibition.
For more information on how to participate, visit www.mfgday.com.
To hear our exclusive podcast with event organizers, visit www.ceramicindustry.com/pods!