Started in 2012, Manufacturing Day is dedicated to addressing current perceptions about the manufacturing industry, to remedy any misconceptions and educate those within and outside of the industry. On the first Friday of every October, manufacturing professionals open their doors to students, parents, teachers, government officials, friends, and anyone willing to learn and share with them why they are proud to be manufacturers.

Manufacturing is a staple in both global and domestic economies. In fact, United States manufacturing contributes about $2.09 trillion to the economy, employing an estimated 17.6 million and accounting for 12.0 percent of the GDP, making it the ninth-largest economy in the world. Recently the U.S. Commerce Department unveiled that manufacturing workers earn 2 to 9 percent more than the overall average worker. Yet, despite this positive impact as a result of the manufacturing industry, the skills gap in the industry continues to grow. According to a 2014 study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute only one out of three parents encourage their kids to enter manufacturing as a career, with forty-five percent believing that the industry has limited career prospects and sixty-six percent concerned about job security. This same study found that only thirty percent of those surveyed believe that school systems encourage pursuit of manufacturing careers among the younger generations. This has resulted in an ever-expanding skills gap within the Manufacturing Industry.

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In a study of this gap by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that an estimated 3.5 million manufacturing jobs would need to be filled over the next decade, but only 1.5 million of those jobs will be occupied. Skills that are sought by the industry include technology (70%), problem solving (69%), basic training (67%), and math (60%). The manufacturing industry provides a plethora of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) fields, yet contradicting views about manufacturing continue to affect its cultivation, which is why Manufacturing Day is very important to those in industry and those outside of it.

Hudson Fasteners, Inc., The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and America Makes teamed together to bring Youngstown’s Manufacturing Day 2015 to fruition on Friday, October 2, 2015. With an emphasis on educating both students and professionals on manufacturing today and in the future, participants and hosts took part in tours of the America Makes facility located on the Youngstown Business Incubator campus. The day’s events began with an introduction by Cris Young, the executive vice president of Hudson Fasteners, Inc., pointing out that manufacturing in the United States is highly profitable and that manufacturing is essential to the local economy.

“There are almost 1,200 manufacturers in this region,” she stated, further explaining that manufacturing makes up almost eleven percent of all jobs in local counties and representing about $2.66 Billion in total earnings for the area. She acknowledged industrial manufacturing and noted that, with advancements in technologies such as 3D-printing, additive manufacturing and the Internet of things, there is potential for the millennial generation to become attracted to the industry. Closing out, Young encouraged, “cooperation and commitment amongst manufacturing, education, technology, business, the media and government to revitalize the City of Youngstown.” Mayor John McNally followed with equally encouraging words and presented Cris Young and Hudson Fasteners, Inc. with a proclamation declaring October 2, 2015, Manufacturing Day in Youngstown.

Manufacturing professionals then toured America Makes to learn about 3D-printing (3DP), additive manufacturing (AM) and how these innovations can revolutionize the manufacturing industry. America Makes is the nation’s leading partner in 3DP and AM, dedicated to research, creation and discovery for the advancement of United States manufacturing in a competitive global market. Lead by Rodrigo Enriquez Gutierrez, a Factory Engineer for America Makes, professionals examined the various printers, their materials and discussed how these innovative technologies could tie into their field. The tour concluded with an in-depth analysis of the expansion of manufacturing through 3D printing by Dr. Brett Connor of Youngstown State University’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. Dr. Connor pointed out that although the adoption of 3D printing does require thinking outside of the box, many companies are looking to 3D printing to advance their services already. It is estimated that 3D printing is on track towards a value of $21 Billion. Met with questions about 3D printing’s effects on industry jobs, Dr. Connor and the America Makes team acknowledged the concerns, but also met them with the industry’s need for skilled professionals. The point was made that jobs will continue to be created and traditional manufacturing will not cease to exist because, while additive manufacturing does provide promise to the future, not everything can be made utilizing it.

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Chaney STEM Students participated in Manufacturing Day by also touring the facility, joined by Youngstown State University President, Jim Tressel, and Youngstown’s Mayor, John McNally. Many of the students participated during the tour with questions, showcasing their existing knowledge and interest in the 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing technologies. Congressional Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio’s 13th Congressional District made closing remarks. Congressman Ryan encouraged the students to participate in manufacturing and emphasized the importance of believing in themselves, believing in each other and pursuing their passions.

After the presentations had concluded, students continued to display curiosity in the 3D printers and the finished products that have been made using these new manufacturing technologies. These students and perhaps many more will be the future of the manufacturing industry. Even if the students are not directly involved in 3d printing and additive manufacturing, these technologies will grow in their lifetime and perhaps broaden their definition of manufacturing. As Cris Young of Hudson Fasteners, Inc. encouraged: “Open your doors to students, consider being a mentor to the next generation who are interested in learning more about careers in modern manufacturing!” A mantra to live by not only during the month of October, but every day.

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Supported by a group of industry sponsors and co-producers, MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, MFG DAY empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.

Manufacturing Day’s team of co-producers is made up of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International, the National Association of Manufacturers, The Manufacturing Institute, Science Channel, EdgeFactor, and American Made Movie. Together they are leading the charge to organize towns, cities and states, to bring back American pride and to amplify the promise of Manufacturing Day’s mission. The goal is to challenge outdated perceptions and address workforce recruitment concerns by presenting manufacturing in a positive light.

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