Dark, dirty, dangerous. Unfortunately, this outdated perception of manufacturing persists to this day, and it can keep away new talent. By 2025, nearly 25 percent of the United States population is expected to be aged 60 or older, meaning many manufacturing workers will be leaving the factory floor. This makes attracting the next generation of workers critical to ensuring the industry remains vibrant. With this thought in mind, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute developed National Manufacturing Day.
It all began in 2012, with the goal of inspiring more people to pursue manufacturing careers. Designed to correct the notion that manufacturing involved only repetitive, unskilled tasks in dark, dirty, and dangerous places, Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) shows up-and-comers that the industry employs highly-skilled individuals while offering some of the most exciting, innovative work environments around.
Shifting Public Perception
Is it working? We can answer with a resounding yes! Deloitte, an MFG DAY sponsor since 2015, has been tracking reception toward the event, and the results are very encouraging. Focusing on students who have engaged in MFG DAY, the numbers are overwhelmingly positive:
- 88% found MFG DAY events interesting and engaging
- 89% became more aware of manufacturing jobs in their community
- 87% were convinced that manufacturing jobs were safe, clean, and high tech
- 84% believed that manufacturing jobs offered good pay
- 84% thought that manufacturing careers could be exciting and rewarding
- 71% planned to tell friends, family, or colleagues about careers in manufacturing
While many manufacturers develop their own MFG DAY plans, working with others can be beneficial.
Collaboration. Most MFG DAY events are plant tours in which you open up your doors to an eager audience. However, if you’re in an industrial park and near other manufacturers, you may be able to collaborate to offer a “mini expo” of your manufacturing community.
Education. Just because you’re not manufacturing doesn’t mean you can’t get involved! Many technical colleges hold educational fairs for their students and invite local manufacturers to set up booths or speak about their operations.
MFG DAY has got people talking!
If you don’t want to just take our word for it, here’s what some others in the industry are saying about MFG DAY:
We need to get kids excited about manufacturing… we need them desperately… that's really what National Manufacturing Day is all about, to fertilize their curiosity.
—Gary Johnson, VP, Ace Clearwater Enterprises
I get all my students jobs… in order to get them jobs, I need to know what's out there.
—Max Lizarrago, Prof. Industrial Design & Eng., Mt. San Antonio College
MFG DAY 2018
National Manufacturing Day will be observed Friday, October 5. It’s a celebration of the work we do, and gives science, technology, engineering, and math students insight into manufacturing today so they can help build the manufacturing world of tomorrow.
Think Manufacturing Day should be more than just a one-day affair? We do too. Check out our story How to Make Manufacturing Day a Year-Round Event.