Get involved with Manufacturing Day October 2, 2015

Major skills gap in manufacturing provides numerous high wage opportunities for young people.

Michigan employment in manufacturing from 2005-2015. Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics
Michigan employment in manufacturing from 2005-2015. Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Michigan employment in manufacturing has been on a steady incline since 2010. In the last 10 years, it hit its bottom in June 2009 with 440,600 employed in the industry. Now, 10 years later, employment has risen to 597,600 in May 2015. With this growth comes concern there will not be enough young people to fill the demand. According to a recent study sponsored by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, “Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled and the skills gap is expected to result in two million of those jobs going unfilled.”

One method to combat this skills gap problem is to increase young people’s awareness and interest in potential opportunities in manufacturing. There is a national effort to address this very problem called Manufacturing Day that will take place Oct. 2, 2015. Manufacturing Day was created to inspire the next generation to explore this industry. It is typically held the first Friday in October, but could take place anytime of the year. The event could take many forms, including plant tours, job fairs, educational fairs, manufacturing expos or a celebration of the industry. Currently, there are 39 such events registered throughout Michigan.

The Manufacturing Day website provides many tools and resources for organizations that want to host an event. Here you will find a community planning guide, host tool kit, educator tool kit and a variety of webinars. You will also find tools to market your event, PowerPoints you can use, open house tips and how to share your story.

High school and college students exploring careers can discover useful information on the Manufacturing Day website as well. The Making it in America Infographic highlights the industry’s demand and educational requirements for different positions. A special section on their website even includes numerous scholarship opportunities for manufacturing career-minded individuals to help offset their college costs.

For additional trainings, articles and resources to help people explore careers, check out the Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development websites.

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