Step Up and Support Manufacturing Day

Host an event and start to change the misconceptions still lingering about manufacturing—and plastics.


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Straw bans…bag bans…ocean litter…tariffs. In plastics, there’s been a lot to brood about lately. But it’s time to aim the discussion at something more positive. Maybe you aren’t involved yet in 3D printing. Maybe you don’t have the latest collaborative robot. Maybe you are taking a wait-and-see approach with respect to Industry 4.0. Still, you do some cool things in your plant, don’t you? Then why not strut your stuff and host an event on Manufacturing Day.

Manufacturing Day has been an annual event since 2012. It takes place the first Friday in October, so this year’s date is Oct. 5. I’ve been writing about Manufacturing Day every year in this space because I think it’s important. There are a lot of misconceptions about manufacturing, not only among millennials but also their parents. Truth is, you are likely doing things with emerging technologies—things that you might take for granted—that are compelling and exciting enough to have someone think twice before they dismiss manufacturing as dirty, noisy, and boring. And just as important, you are most likely looking for young talent.

You do some cool things in your plant, don’t you. Then why not strut your stuff on Manufacturing Day?

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, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Combined, they provide the centralized support necessary to coordinate this nationwide array of simultaneous events.

Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving companies an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is—and what it isn’t. I’ve attended several events personally and couldn’t help but notice wide-eyed students getting the first look at injection molding, mouthing, “Wow” as parts were ejected from the press and subsequently decorated, assembled, and boxed.

Manufacturing Day participation has grown quite a bit since it started. There were 830 events that first year. Last year, nearly 3000 events took place across the country, according to the Manufacturing Day website (mfgday.com). As the website notes, “Thousands of students, parents, and teachers learned about the rewarding careers that manufacturing offers and experienced firsthand the high-tech innovations in 21st century manufacturing.”

The event is growing among plastics processors and their supply base as well. Last year, according to the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), more than 200 plastics industry companies had organized events. Among processors, those hosting events included molder Plastic Molding Technology; film processor/recycler Petoskey Plastics; molder Rodon Group (holding an event for the seventh time); molder Jarden Plastics Solutions; and packaging giant Printpack.

Given the size and scope of our industry, I’d like to see more companies involved in this day. I suggest you go to mfgday.com and click on Host an Event. It doesn’t have to be on Oct. 5; just in October. You can also go to the PLASTICS website for some tools to help you host a successful event.