MFG Day Motivates Youth to Pursue a Career in…

MFG Day Motivates Youth to Pursue a Career in…

Oct 24, 2018

“MFG Day Motivates Youth to Pursue a Career in Manufacturing”

By Michele Nash-Hoff, Saving U.S. Manufacturing

Since 2012, thousands of manufacturers around the country open their doors to inspire and recruit the next generation of manufacturers on Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), which was held this year on Friday, October 5th. 
MFG Day is produced by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute. MFG DAY had ambitious goals: “to change public perception of manufacturing, inspire students to pursue manufacturing careers, and strengthen the future of manufacturing by avoiding the talent shortage on the horizon.” According to the MFG Day website, “We wanted to correct the idea that manufacturing involved repetitive, unskilled tasks that happened in dark, dirty factories — a ridiculous idea to anyone who has actually worked in manufacturing — and show people what manufacturing really looks like.”
Those of us in the industry know that today’s manufacturing jobs are high skilled, and take place in clean, well-lit, technologically advanced facilities. The problem was that there was no way to know whether perceptions were changing until Deloitte became a sponsor of MFG DAY in 2015 and conducted surveys of attendees. 
The results of the survey of 2015 showed:

  • 81% of students emerged “more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding.”
  • 62% of students were “more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing” 

The 2016 survey results showed that the percentages rose to 84% and 64% respectively.
The 2016 Deloitte report said, “Projections indicate that roughly 600,000 people attended MFG DAY events in 2016 and that 267,000 of them were students. That means that nearly 225,000 students walked away from their MFG DAY 2016 event with a more positive perception of manufacturing, according to Deloitte’s findings…. Based on the 267,000-student attendance figure, that’s potentially 171,000 new members of a next-generation manufacturing workforce.”
The Deloitte surveys showed that “71 percent of student attendees both years said that they “were more likely to tell friends, family, parents, or colleagues about manufacturing after attending an event,” meaning that they weren’t just convinced — they were inspired.”
This year, the MFG Day website listed 2,739 events planned across the country. In California, there were events planned at more than 250 locations throughout the state. The CMTC October 9th newsletter stated, “This year, CMTC and its California’s Manufacturing Network were much more active in sponsoring, organizing and coordinating events statewide. CMTC was also very committed in pairing up schools wishing to attend Manufacturing Day events with manufacturers and other organizations hosting open houses, career fairs, and expos. CMTC and its California’s Manufacturing Network’s efforts directly resulted in over 50 schools attending these events. At these events, students received first-hand exposure about today’s manufacturing technologies in industries that employ highly-skilled and well-paid individuals while offering exciting, rewarding, innovative work environments.”
Since I moved up to Hemet, CA in September, I attended events in Riverside County instead of San Diego County.  There were five events in the city of Riverside, one in Menifee, one Murrieta, one in Perris, and one in Redlands.  This is in comparison to my former home county of San Diego with 22 in the city of San Diego, three each in Carlsbad and San Marcos, two in El Cajon, and one each in Chula Vista, Oceanside, and Vista.
I attended only three events in Riverside County because they were located so far apart, and most of the events were held in the same time period between 10 AM and 2 PM. I began my day by attending the event in Menifee at Mt. San Jacinto College to introduce their new Makerspace to students.  The auditorium was nearly filled with students form Santa Rosa Academy where a panel of business professionals and professors shared the value of their education to their careers.  The event was sponsored by the City of Menifee, the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce, and CMTC. The audience was welcomed by Major Bill Zimmerman and Tony LoPiccolo, Executive Director of the Chamber.
Fortunately, I was able to get a private tour of the MakerSpace by Hal Edghill, the MakerSpace specialist, before the students had finished listening to the panelists. The MakerSpace has 15 inexpensive 3D printers and two more advanced 3D printers for students to use for their projects, as well as a small laser cutter/engraver. Mr. Edghill said the MakerSpace just opened in August, so this is the first semester it is available for students to use for projects.
There were so many students that they were divided into four groups for their tour.  Afterward, the students enjoyed pizza and soda before returning to school.
I then drove up to Riverside for a tour of Aleph Group, Inc. (AGI). AGI builds custom bloodmobiles, mobile medical and dental clinics, container hospitals, emergency command vehicles, mobile command centers, and specialty trailers, modular units, and vehicles.  Founder and President/CEO Jales De Mello conducted the tour personally, and we saw four projects in various stages of construction.  One bloodmobile was completed, ready to ship to Saudi Arabia.  Another nearly completed project was a mobile medical/dental clinic being built for a northern California Indian reservation.  The largest project under construction was a modular clinic.
Mr. de Mello said, “I started the company in 2001 with the goal of “making a positive on people’s lives. Our mobile health clinics are custom designed from the ‘ground-up,’ and are fully equipped for turnkey operation. Sizes range from 28 ft. up to 50 ft., and all of our vehicles and units are 100% wood-free construction, so as to eliminate all possibilities of bacteria and fungus growth associated with the use of wood products. The all-aluminum construction is lighter weight, has greater performance and longevity, and improves fire safety.” He believes that “his industry and its leaders must take a proactive approach in solving the needs of mankind.”
Next, I drove to Phenix Technology, Inc., which manufactures high quality fire helmets and other fire safety products and collectibles.  I arrived early for my 2:00 PM tour, so while the formal tour of manufacturing was being conducted, I had the pleasure of getting a private tour of their collectible museum of fire helmets from around the world and memorabilia related to fireman and fire stations. Museum tours are available upon request. 
Phenix Technology, Inc was founded in 1972 by Former California State Fire Marshall, Ronnie Coleman and former Assistant Chief of the California State Fire Training Division, Ray Russell to make higher quality fire helmets. Four decades later, Phenix is still a family business who continues to proudly manufacture in the USA, and Mr. Coleman and Mr. Russell “are still there and available to answer any questions you might have about firefighter head protection.”
Tyler Meyer conducted the formal tour, and I saw three different styles of fire helmets being made in the production area.  Tyler said they have gone through Lean training and greatly improved their productivity and reduced lead times.  He said, “We can now make up to 20 helmets per hour instead of four.  Our lead times for most of our products, except for handmade leather helmets. went from 6 weeks to 6 hours in some cases. Our sales went up 51%, and our Net Operating Income went up 1600%+. We reduced our inventory by over $100,000, and our inventory turns are almost unmeasurable as we do everything just in time. We haven’t had any significant price increases in three years though our COGS increased as much as 30% because our controllable costs are down.”

He referred me to their Director of Global Operations, Angel Sanchez, Jr., who emailed me that “it is more important to talk about how Lean has created a culture of continuous improvement and total employee engagement. How Monday is most of our people’s favorite day of the week, not Friday. How we have learned that Lean is about creating a mindset where you see waste in everything and how everyone works together to eliminate it. If you are encouraging people to start a Lean journey, the focus has to be on the pillars of Lean, not the metrics.”
I was happy to get another example of the difference a Lean transformation can make in company performance and how important it is for American companies to become Lean enterprises to help rebuild American manufacturing.

I encourage more manufacturers to plan to participate in MFG Day in 2019.  Open your company to a tour.  Invite the families of your employees.  Invite your customers.  Invite the students of local high schools.  Invite your elected officials.  Many of them have never been in a manufacturing plant.  Let’s make 2019 the most successful MFG Day to date.   

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