Students’ attitudes shift after experiencing manufacturing

How do you get students to pursue manufacturing careers? In most cases, it’s not so much up to you as them. Per a study conducted by The Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and the Educational Research Center of America, 64 percent of students enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses say that their own interests and experiences are the most important factor in choosing a career path.

In light of that, let’s revise the question: How do you spark student interest in manufacturing careers? The simple answer is exposure: Showing them modern manufacturing in action and letting them find what that inspires them, whether it’s the technology, the creativity, the problem solving, the team attitude or the reassurance of good pay and benefits and high job security.

That’s where Manufacturing Day comes in. MFG Day is the perfect way to provide students early exposure to the many career opportunities offered by modern manufacturing. And that isn’t just talk — exit polling from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute in 2016 shows that MFG Day events make a real impact for students that participate. After attending MFG Day events:

  • 89 percent of students were more aware of jobs in their communities
  • 84 pecent were more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding
  • 64 percent of students were more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing
  • 71 percent were more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing after attending an event

So, how do you get students to your MFG Day event to give them a chance to have a mind-opening experience that sparks their own interests? Use the tips in this blog post, “How to Get Students to Your MFG Day Event,” and do your part to inspire that next generation of modern manufacturers!

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A partner to help drive students to your event
To help increase student participation in your Manufacturing Day event,consider partnering with your local Dream It. Do It. network, which has locations across the United States. Dream It. Do It. is The National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Institute’s nationwide youth engagement network. And with 30+ state and regional partners, there is probably a Dream It. Do It. site near you.

Made up of manufacturing industry leaders, the Dream It. Do It. network works to change the perception of manufacturing and inspire next-generation workers to pursue manufacturing careers. Working together, each member organization provides resources and support to aid pro-manufacturing efforts in their respective territories and implements activities to meet local, regional, and statewide workforce needs.

Including local manufacturers, schools, and community-based organizations, among others, the Dream It. Do It. initiative offers its partners the opportunity to join a respected national platform to promote manufacturing as a top-tier career choice in the United States and engage and mobilize the next generation of manufacturing workers.

Fanning student interest sparked by plant tours
Manufacturing Day happens just once a year. So, what can manufacturers do year-round to continue their efforts to inspire the next generation of modern manufacturers?

One answer is to build on the success of MFG Day events by conducting regular open houses, an approach developed by the Waukesha County Manufacturing Alliance (WCMA) even before the advent of MFG Day in 2012. Back in 2010, WCMA partnered with Dream It. Do It. Wisconsin and the Manufacturing Institute to develop a program called Schools2Skills for high school students to tour manufacturing facilities in the county in an attempt to inspire them to pursue manufacturing careers and thereby address the critical shortage of talent local employers were facing.

The first Schools2Skills tour was completed by school administrators from all 12 school districts in Waukesha County and quickly took off. Since its launch, Schools2Skills has done almost 40 tours, taking more than 1,200 students to more than 40 manufacturers where they have been able to learn about the rewarding career paths offered in modern manufacturing.

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The tours conclude at regional community or technical colleges, where attendees can learn about education opportunities available for pursuing manufacturing careers, giving inspired students a perfect answer to inevitable questions like, “How do I get involved?” or “What’s next?”

To learn more about how the Schools2Skills program works, check out this account from the Manufacturing Institute.

This article was provided by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute, organizers of Manufacturing Day.

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