Plastics processors need to take this nationwide, one-day event more seriously.

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Mesmerized university students watch as Baxter the robot demonstrates the future of automation in manufacturing during Plastic Molding Technology’s plant tour for Manufacturing Day 2013. Baxter was supplied by Shepard Controls, a representative for Rethink Robotics. (Photo: Plastic Molding Technology)

Students learn about and discuss supply chain operations in action during a plant tour of Plastic Molding Technology during Manufacturing Day 2013. (Photo: Plastic Molding Technology)

It’s not too early to mark October 3 on your calendar. That’s the date of the third
annual Manufacturing Day. It’s an important day for any manufacturing organization to show off their business, technology and products to students, parents, teachers, and job seekers who are interested in learning about manufacturing and the skills and training needed to start a career in the field.

It’s also an event I believe plastics processors need to take more seriously.

On the second annual Manufacturing Day, held last Oct. 4, more than 825 manufacturers in 48 states opened their doors to more than 35,000 guests to show them what manufacturing is all about.  “Manufacturing Day 2013 was a success because hundreds of manufacturers invited their communities to visit their operations and see first-hand the value of the work they do,” states Ed Youdell, president and CEO of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association.


Manufacturing Day gives companies a chance to inform the general public about the issues they face, such as a shortage of skilled labor. During the events they hosted, many manufacturers explained to their audience how this shortage affects them on a daily basis, and talked about the solutions they are developing to solve the problem. That message was delivered not just to the visitors at local events, but to more than 80 million viewers of the website (mfgday.com) and social media postings.

“At The Manufacturing Institute, we are working to help manufacturers attract quality talent and develop the workforce pipeline,” noted Jennifer McNelly, president of the group . “When we all work together, manufacturing is stronger, and when manufacturing is stronger, the U.S. is stronger.”

Added Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, “By opening shop floors to young and curious minds around the country, we are able to show that modern manufacturing is a technology-driven industry that offers secure, good-paying jobs and the ability to develop products that will change the world.”

But of the 800+ manufacturers that opened their doors to interested people last October, only a handful—fewer than 10—were plastics processors. That’s a disappointing number from any point of view, and particularly when this industry, like many others, is facing enormous challenges in finding young talent.

One processor that took part in the 2013 festivities was Plastic Molding Technology (PMT), El Paso, Tex. “The goal of the Manufacturing Day event at PMT was to draw greater attention to the outstanding opportunities a career in manufacturing can provide, and to promote the pursuit of skills leading to a long-term career for qualified candidates,” said Charles A. Sholtis, owner and CEO of the company.

“Manufacturing is coming back to the U.S.,” Sholtis added. “The role of manufacturing in the supply chain has become increasingly important to end markets. Hopefully, by opening up shop floors around the country to students and other businesses, we were able to show modern manufacturing for what it is—a sleek, safe, technology-driven industry that offers secure, good-paying jobs.”

PMT plans on participating again this year, and expects a bigger turnout at its plant than last year. Why don’t you give it some consideration too? Log on to mfgday.com to learn how to get involved.