MFG Day 2021 was a smashing success. This year, manufacturers throughout the nation hosted open houses, factory tours and job fairs—both on site and online—to introduce young people and others to the promise of modern manufacturing. And many companies and leaders took to social media to show their support and love for the industry. Here’s what we saw on Friday.
Presidential nod: On Sept. 30, President Biden proclaimed Oct. 1 to be National Manufacturing Day, to “commit to strengthening and supporting the American manufacturers and hardworking manufacturing employees of today as well as the manufacturers and workers of the future.”
State (and federal) support: At least 15 states issued their own Manufacturing Day proclamations, and more than 40 congressional representatives publicly marked the occasion.
Connecticut has an incredible manufacturing tradition going back generations.
⁰But manufacturing today is not the same as your grandparents’. It’s clean, green, computer centric, doesn't require a 2 or 4-year degree, and is a good paying job. #MFGDay21 pic.twitter.com/flYrdvfmkO
— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) October 1, 2021
Today, we bring awareness to the US manufacturing industry — jobs that are vital to our national economy and essential to our communities in Oklahoma. Thank you to past and current creators who have worked hard to shape the manufacturing industry in our country. @MFGDay #MFGDay21 pic.twitter.com/rGlPp0cFmA
— Rep. Stephanie Bice (@RepBice) October 1, 2021
As we celebrate Manufacturing Day, know I’m committed to not only elevating Georgia as a manufacturing hub for our 21st Century economy, but also supporting the dignity of work for our hardworking manufacturers. #MFGDay21
— Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (@SenatorWarnock) October 1, 2021
#Ohio has the best workforce in the country. Today we celebrate the millions of men and women whose hard work in the factories and on the shop floors fuels America’s economic prosperity. Happy #ManufacturingDay!
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) October 1, 2021
Manufacturers in action: Hundreds of events took place across nearly all 50 states, both online and in-person.
Interested in a career in manufacturing? Join us TODAY for an @MfgDay virtual event where our employees will talk about what it is like to work for Smithfield Foods! Open to students, teachers and parents. #MFGDay21 https://t.co/46s6PHPEoo pic.twitter.com/EIOvtLitvc
— Smithfield Foods (@SmithfieldFoods) October 1, 2021
— Cornerstone Building Brands (@CornerstoneBB_) October 1, 2021
Big support: MFG Day sponsors also marked the occasion:
We are proud to be an official sponsor of #MFGDay21
We join thousands of companies & educational institutions around the nation in celebrating & showcasing modern manufacturing & career opportunities.#Creatorswanted#THINKOUTSIDE @ShopFloorNAMhttps://t.co/ycIeVTzzkp https://t.co/hReC5zaLu4
— Polaris Inc. (@PolarisInc) October 1, 2021
Manufacturing Day is held annually on the first Friday of October to showcase what modern manufacturing is all about. We at JELD-WEN embrace this day and invite you to see what #JELDWEN careers are available in your area, click here: https://t.co/pCPZXbnhU9 #JELDWEN #MFGDay21! pic.twitter.com/2z3dLC8lUw
— JELD-WEN (@JELDWEN) October 1, 2021
In the news: Many local and national media outlets covered the day’s events. The coverage included an interview with NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” along with pieces and segments in Yahoo! Finance, The Times Leader and The Chattanoogan, as well as on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX affiliates nationwide.
More to come: “MFG Day” actually lasts for the entire month of October, so be sure to check out upcoming events at CreatorsWanted.org.
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers and its workforce development and education partner, The Manufacturing Institute, announce the start of MFG Day 2021. Celebrated annually on the first Friday in October and with programming continuing throughout the month, MFG Day features focused events to showcase the exciting reality of modern manufacturing.
“The two biggest issues facing manufacturers in America are an ongoing perception problem and the skills gap,” said MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “We have nearly 900,000 open jobs in manufacturing—a record for the industry—and 4 million jobs will need to be filled by the end of the decade. Closing that gap requires us to inspire, educate and empower the next generation of manufacturing workers—and that’s where MFG Day and our larger Creators Wanted campaign come in. MFG Day provides manufacturers from coast to coast the opportunity to open their doors and highlight the work of the people who make things in America, which will help us recruit skilled talent and reach next-generation manufacturing employees.”
Manufacturers will open their doors—in person or virtually—to students, parents, teachers and community leaders to offer a firsthand look at the career possibilities in the manufacturing industry. Originally founded by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, MFG Day is an initiative of the MI and also advances the mission of Creators Wanted, the industry’s year-round effort to build the workforce of the future.
NAM President and CEO and MI Chairman of the Board Jay Timmons added:
“As manufacturers of all sizes host MFG Day events and provide firsthand looks at the exciting world of modern manufacturing, attendees will come away with an incredible understanding of the possibilities available to them and with a head start on well-paying, challenging and rewarding careers like no other. MFG Day and all of the related events going on throughout October, along with the continued work of Creators Wanted, are essential parts of manufacturers’ ongoing, legacy work to strengthen and grow the manufacturing workforce of today and tomorrow.”
The MI grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The MI’s diverse initiatives support all workers in America, including women, veterans and students, through skills training programs, community building and the advancement of their career in manufacturing. As the workforce development and education partner of the NAM, the MI is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with resources necessary to solve the industry’s toughest challenges. For more information on the MI, please visit www.themanufacturinginstitute.org.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
It’s finally here: MFG Day 2021!
Today The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce development and education partner, officially kicks off the ninth annual day dedicated to inspiring the next generation of U.S. manufacturers.
Not just a day: Despite its name, the initiative will in fact run the entire month of October, and will feature nationwide, manufacturer-planned events aimed at giving students, parents and educators the chance to tour manufacturing facilities both virtually and in person.
- Events include factory tours, expos, open hours, job fairs and community gatherings—you can find a complete list here.
- Currently, there are more than 400 events registered on the MI website. Find out what’s happening in your area and sign up today!
Why it matters: As of July, the manufacturing industry had close to 900,000 open jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If the trend continues, this deficit could grow to 2.1 million by 2030, according to a recent study by the MI and Deloitte. It’s never been more urgent to get people interested in rewarding, lifelong manufacturing careers—for their own sake and the country’s.
- The matter is of such importance that President Biden issued a proclamation declaring October 1 National Manufacturing Day, calling it a day on which “we … recognize the importance of our Nation’s manufacturers to every aspect of our lives.”
What you can do: The MI has a host of resources for those of you who want to spread the word and get involved. These include:
- Resources for students: The MI has unveiled a website for future creators, the students who might be considering manufacturing careers. Check it out or pass it on to a student you know.
- Resources for manufacturers: Manufacturers who are currently planning an event, or considering one for later this year, we’ve got you covered! Check out this library of planning resources, including recordings of our four-part MFG Day planning series.
- Become a sponsor: If you can’t host this year, why not sponsor the effort? View this year’s prospectus to learn more about how you can become an MFG Day sponsor and receive additional support.
And don’t forget Creators Wanted! The Creators Wanted immersive experience also launches this month, with its first tour stop in Columbus, Ohio coming next week. It will be open from October 4 to 7 at Mitchell Hall at Columbus State Community College. And don’t worry; the experience will take place under stringent COVID-19 safety protocols.
- At the mobile experience, you’ll be able to enter an Escape Room-like challenge; get hands-on with technology demonstrations; meet creators who are making a difference and excited to share their career experiences; and access exclusive resources for manufacturing career pathways.
- Reserve your own spot or get some for young people of your acquaintance here.
The last word: As MI Executive Director Carolyn Lee says, “MFG Day provides manufacturers from coast to coast the opportunity to open their doors and highlight the work of the people who make things in America, which will help us recruit skilled talent and reach next-generation manufacturing employees.” In other words—don’t miss it!
One day last year, when schools were closed due to the pandemic, President and CEO Marcus Sheanshang brought his kids to work with him at JBM Packaging of Lebanon, Ohio. And he knew exactly who should train the kids on the company’s envelope and packaging machines: Amanda Hall, one of the company’s star employees.
But Hall isn’t just a star; she’s a star with an unusual background. As Sheanshang put it, “We were having dinner that night, and I said to the kids, ‘Do you know something very interesting about Ms. Amanda? … Ms. Amanda was in prison a few years ago.’ They said, ‘No, there’s no way.’ They wouldn’t believe me.”
A factory for fair chances: In fact, Hall’s story is almost the rule, not the exception, for JBM. One-quarter of JBM’s employees are what the company calls “fair chance” hires, or those who have been involved with the criminal-justice system. Sheanshang expects that proportion to grow to half the workforce in the coming years.
How it began: Sheanshang instituted the hiring program, in which the company actively recruits future employees from 30 correctional institutions and halfway houses, about five years ago when looking for creative strategies to address labor shortages.
- “We don’t have people applying for jobs,” Sheanshang said, referring to the manufacturing industry’s long-time struggle to find enough skilled employees. “Fair chance hiring really plugged that hole for us and allowed us to grow and get the right team members on our team who share our values. When they get out of prison, they have a spot here at JBM.”
How it works: While JBM won’t bring on anyone who has been charged with sex crimes, crimes against women or crimes against children, the company is committed to hiring and supporting all others who want and are eligible to work.
- JBM has an on-staff change coach who works with all JBM employees to help them find housing, purchase a car and more. Her success with the employees has been so profound that JBM is looking to hire another such coach, Sheanshang told us.
Grand opening: In July, the packaging business opened a second plant, this one in downtown Cincinnati. While the company’s success made this expansion possible, JBM was also aiming to move closer to its fair chance employees and potential new hires.
- “We noticed there’s a fair number of barriers in the Lebanon area [regarding] housing and transportation,” Sheanshang said. The downtown Cincinnati location offers more transportation resources “for folks looking to get back on their feet.”
Triumph over tragedy: Sheanshang is proud of the successes that fair chance employees have achieved. He shared the story of Brian, a fair chance hire who started out as a production worker and now is on the path to becoming a quality control supervisor. Another fair chance employee, Justin, also began at JBM at entry level. He is now on track to become a trainer of other employees.
- “This is not stuff that’s given to them,” Sheanshang said. “This is stuff that they’re earning.”
The last word: “I would say to any CEO or other business owner, really take a hard look at fair chance hiring,” Sheanshang said. “When it gets down to brass tacks, this is a great strategy. If you have the systems in place to help fair chance hires, this will work.”
The Manufacturing Institute recently launched its second chance hiring initiative, which helps companies recruit and retain individuals with criminal records, just as JBM does. Learn more about this initiative here.
The NAM and The Manufacturing Institute took the Creators Wanted Mobile Experience for a test-drive in advance of a nationwide launch designed to inspire, educate and empower the next generation of creators.
What it is: The Creators Wanted Mobile Experience features an escape room mounted in a mobile unit, with a series of challenges intended to help bust myths around manufacturing and show young people and their parents the exciting opportunities available in the modern manufacturing industry. The program is designed to travel to schools and community centers nationwide.
What we did: The NAM and the MI brought three groups to Dallas, Texas, to test out the Creators Wanted Mobile Experience: students aged 15–17, students aged 18–22 and parents who have children aged 15–22. The groups first had conversations about career interests and perceptions of manufacturing, followed by a walk-through of the Creators Wanted Mobile Experience and another conversation about perceptions of manufacturing and career expectations.
What we learned: The Creators Wanted Mobile Experience completely changed participants’ view of the manufacturing industry, showing them the benefits of a career in modern manufacturing and making them excited about the opportunities manufacturing offers. While most participants had previously been skeptical about the industry’s ability to offer good, rewarding career paths, individuals who went through the Creators Wanted Mobile Experience came to appreciate manufacturing as an industry that offers diverse opportunities and workforces, high-end careers, competitive wages, job security, the chance to have an impact and careers that instill pride.
Our take: “We have a record of nearly 900,000 open jobs in modern manufacturing today, and 4 million jobs to fill, according to The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, by 2030,” said NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas. “We knew we had to try something different to recruit and excite the next generation. We’re about to hit the next phase of our campaign to bring more of these rewarding opportunities to more people—and now we can be even more confident that we have the right approaches and messages to get the job done for manufacturers and for our country.”
Don’t take our word for it: Read the endorsement of the Creators Wanted campaign in The Dallas Morning News.
- “Creators Wanted is a clever approach that teens will enjoy. We encourage parents and guidance counselors to consider it. But the larger point here is about the pipeline of workers needed to ensure our economy can continue to grow. NAM has taken the initiative to improve that pipeline, putting them ahead of the competition for now. We hope to see others join that race soon.”
Through a global pandemic, manufacturers have led the way on health and safety measures, helping keep Americans working—for the U.S. and the world. Now the manufacturing industry continues that leadership while recruiting and inspiring the creators of the future.
On the road: Creators Wanted, the workforce campaign of the NAM and the MI, is getting ready to hit the road. The campaign formalized its COVID-19 safety protocols and is employing state-of-the-art technologies, like Sphere Synexis, provided by legacy sponsor Trane Technologies, to continuously fight viruses, bacteria and other hazards in the air and on surfaces. The mobile experience, along with other programming events and new online resources, will bring the story of modern manufacturing to communities across the country.
- The experience, recently endorsed by The Dallas Morning News, is designed to capture the imaginations of students, teachers and parents and inspire the next generation of manufacturers.
- It will complement the upcoming release of the NAM and MI’s innovative online resources for those seeking a career in manufacturing.
Coming to a town near you: The NAM and MI released the following Creators Wanted Live tour dates and stops.
- Oct. 4–7: Columbus, Ohio
- Oct. 12–15: Charlotte, North Carolina
- Oct. 20–22: West Columbia, South Carolina
- Nov. 8–10: Pella, Iowa
- Nov. 16–18: Freeport, Texas
- Nov. 30 – Dec. 3: Dallas, Texas
Wait, there’s more! Community programming stops are also coming to Detroit, Michigan; Guthrie, Kentucky; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Carson City, Nevada. And a new suite of digital and online experiences and tools will bring the campaign to every state.
Thanks to strong support: “Our ability to mount this bold solution to the workforce crisis through the difficulties of a pandemic has been anything but certain,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and NAM Board Chair Mike Lamach said in a joint message to NAM membership. “It has taken the unwavering and strong support of some of America’s leading enterprises and business leaders to keep this campaign alive.”
Neha Phadke is a long way from home. Originally from a small farming village in India, Phadke grew sugar cane, onions, wheat and watermelon to support her seven-person family while she completed her bachelor’s degree. She moved to the United States to earn her Ph.D. in organic chemistry when Texas Tech University offered her full funding.
Today, Phadke works as a senior process chemist at Covestro, a high-tech polymer materials manufacturer that makes products used in industries including automotive, construction, health care, cosmetics, energy, electronics and sports. It’s her responsibility to find ways to improve production while maintaining quality.
Focused on manufacturing: Even when she was studying organic chemistry as an undergraduate and grad student, Phadke knew that she was more interested in applied science than academia. Near the end of her Ph.D. program in 2015, she received an internship opportunity at Covestro, which was then called Bayer Material Science. That internship turned into a job offer, and she has been working at Covestro ever since.
- “I was asked if I wanted to go into research and academia or manufacturing, and I was 100% sure I wanted to go into manufacturing,” said Phadke. “I had a feeling that this was where I belonged.”
Everything’s bigger in Texas: Still, Phadke faced a learning curve when she shifted from academia to manufacturing, including the scale of the work she was doing.
- “I had never seen big plants and reactors,” said Phadke. “I had worked on my Ph.D. in milligrams, and here I’m making more than 30,000 pounds of material in the reactors. It was fascinating, and I enjoyed the experience, process and learning through the new challenges.”
Standing up: Phadke may work in an environment that’s traditionally been male dominated, but she has never let that stop her before. Even when she was growing up, she knew that her ability to succeed should have nothing to do with her gender.
- “I was always asked if I had a sibling, and I would say I have a younger sister—and I would get sympathy for not having a brother,” said Phadke. “As a kid, I wouldn’t understand why it should make any difference. And it pushed me to think: why can’t I do anything a guy can do?”
Serving as an example: The Manufacturing Institute recently selected Phadke as a 2021 STEP Ahead Award Honoree—an honor given to women leaders who have excelled both within their companies and in the industry as a whole. She encourages other women to get involved in manufacturing and says that, while the industry might seem daunting, she’s gotten plenty of support from her colleagues and her company.
The last word: “Anything is possible,” said Phadke. “Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you believe is right. Wear your courage, face your fears, lead your path, follow your passion and inspire others.”
Learn more about the STEP Ahead program, including how to honor remarkable women on your team, here.
The Economic Development Administration has $3 billion to spend on job training—and manufacturers should start preparing now to attract some of that funding to their regions.
What’s happening: The American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law by President Biden in March, set aside $3 billion for a historic investment by the EDA in bottom-up economic development, according to a recent information session hosted by The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the NAM.
- Part of that money includes $500 million for the EDA’s Good Jobs Challenge, which helps fund job-training programs from design and development through implementation.
Applicants wanted: Applications for the funding—which can be spent by eligible recipients on a wide variety of expenses, including curriculum development, equipment purchases and training-facility leases—are due Jan. 26, 2022. (Read the Notice of Funding Opportunity here.)
“One of the key things we’re looking for in these proposals is a commitment to hire,” said EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Michele Chang. “We are in a time where we want to get folks back into jobs quickly.”
Who’s eligible? While nearly all types of public and private nonprofit groups are eligible, the EDA is seeking organizations that have strong credibility with employers and a proven track record of success.
- How manufacturers can help: Raise this grant opportunity with your trusted economic development or workforce partner and encourage them to contact the MI at [email protected] to learn more.
- A good fit: The EDA program is a natural fit for the MI’s efforts, according to MI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Gardner Carrick. As he put it, “We are all working to attract more individuals to manufacturing.”
Boot Camp: Those who want to put their best foot forward during the EDA application process should consider the MI Boot Camp. These eight coaching sessions, which will run from mid-September to mid-December, will include workshops, discussions and expert mentorship designed to help applicants compete for the funds.
- The MI Boot Camp is provided free of charge, but attendees will be selected via an application process. Email [email protected] for more information and how to apply.
Why it matters: Manufacturers are dealing with a worrying lack of skilled workers. As of July, the industry had a total of 889,000 job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This vacuum could grow to 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a recent study by Deloitte and the MI—an excellent reason to expand training programs as fast as possible.
The last word: The MI encourages all those who meet eligibility requirements to apply for funds to support their job-training programs. Said Carrick: “The EDA has to be commended for what is really a very impressive grant program.”
Interested in more of the NAM and MI’s work to attract workers to the manufacturing industry? Check out our Creators Wanted campaign.
The past 18 months have been trying for students of all ages, as they have navigated virtual learning in place of or in combination with in-person classes. But for many of those enrolled in the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program, 2020 and 2021 have presented a unique educational and professional opportunity.
The background: Founded by Toyota and now operated by The Manufacturing Institute, FAME is the top U.S. program for training students who seek careers in manufacturing. Enrollees who complete it earn associate degrees and certification as advanced manufacturing technicians (AMTs), while working part time in manufacturing facilities—and being paid competitively.
- “After two years of increasing experience, consistent organizational and cultural acclimation, as well as professional growth—coupled with the company’s investment made in wages—most graduating AMTs (about 85%) go to work for the sponsoring employer upon graduation,” MI Workforce Initiatives Senior Director Tony Davis told us.
The first pandemic opening: Despite the global outbreak of COVID-19 less than six months prior, FAME saw the opening of a new chapter in fall 2020: FAME on the Plains, based in Opelika, Alabama.
- “It was a challenge, to say the least,” says Davis. “But they recruited about nine students.” Three will graduate in May 2022, having overcome some unprecedented challenges.
- In fact, the chapter remained undaunted and, thanks to the appeal of the earn-and-learn FAME model, is heading into fall 2021 with 25 AMT students.
Nine more chapters, coming soon: That one chapter was only the beginning. Thanks to its successful virtual recruitment efforts and other outreach, FAME will open nine new chapters in 2021. This explosive growth—nearly 40% since last year—brings the number of national FAME chapters to 32 across 12 states. Here are the new chapters by state:
- Colorado: Colorado will get its first FAME chapter, CO FAME of Pueblo.
- Florida: Florida, also a first timer, will get not one but two new chapters: the FL FAME – Gulf Coast Chapter of Bay County/Panama City and the FL FAME – Sunshine Chapter of Volusia County/Daytona Beach.
- Indiana: Indiana will acquire chapters two, three and four in the state: the Central, Hoosier and NEI chapters, which are located respectively in Indianapolis, Anderson and Fort Wayne. These chapters join the IN FAME – So.INFAME Chapter of Vincennes.
- Michigan: Michigan will also get a new entry on the FAME map, thanks to the MI FAME – JAMA Chapter of Jackson.
- Texas: Texas will get its second location, the TX FAME – Dallas Chapter of Garland.
- Virginia: And last, Virginia is also starting its first chapter, the VA FAME – Central Virginia Chapter of Prince George County/Petersburg.
The last word: “We are proud to welcome so many new locations into the FAME network,” said MI Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Gardner Carrick. “It is a testament to the seriousness of the workforce shortage and the success of the FAME model that companies have been willing to invest in this solution during this challenging year. We’re excited to support these new companies and look forward to welcoming hundreds of new FAME students this fall.”
Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka.
“America has lost a tremendous leader with the sudden passing of Richard Trumka. I was privileged to call him a friend and colleague, working with him closely on issues ranging from infrastructure and workforce development to protecting civil rights and advancing equality. Like so many others, I learned a great deal from him along the way and admired his unshakeable authenticity and decency.
“He was a patriot and a statesman who demonstrated unwavering strength of purpose and never forgot who he represented. We may have sparred at times on policy priorities, but one thing was always clear: whether we aligned on an issue or took differing views, he was fighting with conviction on behalf of American workers and for a stronger America.
“Perhaps most of all, I appreciated his belief that management and workers have far more that unites them than divides them. He shared a commitment to the preservation and expansion of democracy here and around the world. He understood that our economy’s success and workers’ future depend on faith in our institutions. His powerful words in response to the January 6 insurrection are stamped in history and exemplified his resolve to stand strong against forces that would undermine our constitutional democracy.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Barb, his family and to his AFL-CIO colleagues. His vision, voice and leadership will be greatly missed, but America is truly blessed to have had his countless contributions.”
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.