Employers and Schools Team Up for Manufacturing Day Celebration

(BEDFORD) – Every year on the first Friday in October, employers in the manufacturing industry are encouraged to open their doors to students and the community to celebrate Manufacturing Day.

This year, 11 local employers participated in the event and hosted tours for over 300 students from North Lawrence Community Schools and Mitchell Community Schools.

Those employers included Bedford Machine & Tool Inc., CAP Group, Geo-Flo, IN-FAB, Inc., JSI, Lehigh, PRD, Pynco, Stone City Products, WF Meyers, and Whitney Tool.

This is the second time Lawrence County has participated in MFG Day, spearheaded by the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council and community partners.

Students toured 2-3 facilities with the opportunity to learn, ask questions, and even get face time with their potential future employers.

“A day like today gives the kids a chance to see what it’s really like to work in the careers they learn about every day,” said Brad Gilbert, a precision machining instructor at the North Lawrence Career Center. “So many of these businesses have a need for employees with the skills they’re developing in school right now, even if it’s not machining. This is the opportunity to see the full picture.”

The Career Center offers classes in engineering, precision machining, welding and more to prepare students for the next step in their career. Many of those students participated in the event.

According to a study by Conexus Indiana, 50% of parents underestimate salaries for the manufacturing industry and only 10% believe a career in manufacturing is desirable.

“Many of the positions with these local employers are considered high-demand/high-wage jobs and are the best-kept secret,” said Joe Timbrook, Director of Career Development for the LCEGC. “With manufacturing being the largest employment sector for our community, this day represents the chance for these students to see what jobs are available, right here at home, where they can have a career that may or may not require a four-year degree.”

For many of these companies, the opportunity to share what they do with the community is a rare occasion. “It’s important that our students understand all the opportunities here, and what education or skills they need to develop for those careers. They are the workforce of our future. We are glad to be part of the day’s events and coordinate with our local school systems,” said Tim Knisley, Production Manager at Lehigh.

Beyond technical positions, manufacturers educated students on positions such as accounting, sales, HR and more. In addition to the tours, students received lunch and MFG Day “swag bags” with giveaways from participating companies as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donated by Fastenal.

“It was a county-wide effort, and we’re thankful for the generosity of employers as well as the partnership with NLCS, MCS, NLCC, COSMOS, and so many more,” said Heather Nash, Program Manager at the LCEGC.

To learn more about MFG Day, visit www.mfgday.com.

About the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council:

The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council is a non-profit, local economic development organization (LEDO) existing to support the growth of Lawrence County Businesses including startup support, workforce solutions, and technical assistance which promotes investment that improves the quality of life for our citizens. Learn more at www.lawrencecountygrowth.com.