Get Involved in Manufacturing Day

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Strut your stuff to students, their parents and teachers on Oct. 7

Do you think manufacturing gets a bad rap, especially among millennials? Are you doing things with emerging technologies that are compelling and exciting enough that they might have someone think twice before they dismiss manufacturing as dirty, noisy, and boring? Are you looking to change the perception young people might have of plastics processing in particular? Do you simply want to raise awareness of the benefits a career in manufacturing can provide? Maybe even find a prospective new employee?

If your answer to any of these questions—or maybe to all of them—is yes, then take a look at getting involved in Manufacturing Day.

This annual event is coming up on Oct. 7. You could be getting ready to attend the K Show in Dusseldorf a couple of weeks after. But you still might not want to miss the opportunity to open your doors and educate people about not only manufacturing in general, but plastics processing in particular.
Now in its fourth year, Manufacturing Day is a national event, executed at the local level, that supports thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers, and other community members at open houses designed to showcase modern manufacturing technology and careers. The event is co-produced by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and guest producer Industrial Strength Marketing (ISM). Combined, they provide the centralized support necessary to coordinate this nationwide array of simultaneous events.

The national media partner for 2016 is the Science Channel, and the strategic content partner is Edge Factor. As of this writing, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the SME Education Foundation, and Tooling U-SME have all pledged their support as Gold sponsors for the fourth consecutive year. (In connection with Manufacturing Day, the Society of the Plastics Industry is holding a job fair in Charleston, S.C. Sept. 14, from 1:30-6:30 PM. Learn more here. SPI is among Manufacturing Day’s Silver Sponsors.)

I’m pleased to see that the event is growing in popularity in our industry, both among processors and supplier companies. I first wrote about Manufacturing Day on this page in April 2014 and noted then that of the 800+ companies that held events in 2013, fewer than 10 were involved in plastics (or more precisely, were SPI members). Last year, 25 SPI member companies participated and held 37 open houses. Better? Yes. Good enough? Considering the size and scope of this industry, I’d say not even close.

Overall, Manufacturing Day participation has grown quite a bit since it started in 2013 with 830 events. In 2014 that number more than doubled to 1684, and climbed again last year to 2602, according to the Manufacturing Day website.

At press time, there were 270 events set up. It’s early in the process, as more are added every day. So there’s still time to add your company’s name to the list. To get going, log on to mfgday.com. At the top navigation bar, click on Host an Event.