When Manufacturing Day launched on Oct. 4, 2012, hundreds of manufacturing companies and thousands of people participated in the first annual event highlighting the value of manufacturing to the United States economy and its highly skilled careers. This response prompted an extension of the day into the entire month of October.
Through a series of open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events on Oct., 4, 2013, and throughout the rest of the month, hundreds of manufacturers will draw public attention to manufacturing’s present-day reality by opening their doors and showing, in a coordinated effort, exactly what manufacturing and careers therein are — and what they aren’t.
Modern manufacturing environments are commonly thought of as dark, dangerous factories designed for low-skilled workers, when in fact today’s manufacturing environments include highly trained, well-paid employees who work on state-of-the-art equipment. Today’s manufacturing facilities are sleek, technology-driven places that include robots, automated machinery, screen technologies and increasingly more 3-D printing technologies. Present-day engineers and developers in manufacturing are building on engineers’ past technological innovations to create the next breakthroughs that will address tomorrow’s great challenges.
Ultimately, manufacturing is an attractive mixture of cutting-edge tech and traditional hands-on work. Many professionals today are so involved in their electronic and digital lives that they may feel removed from the actual “stuff” that they are involved in producing. Even while utilizing sophisticated digital tools, manufacturers have the unique benefit of being makers – working with the satisfaction of making real products for people.
The nation’s manufacturing sector provides a number of other compelling reasons for young people to pursue manufacturing careers. For instance, did you know that the annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000? Or that 90 percent of them have medical benefits? Moreover, despite all the doom-and-gloom news in recent years about how manufacturing jobs are shrinking, manufacturers have the highest job tenure in the private sector.
The importance of manufacturing and the role of its workers in bringing innovative improvements to the people who need them can hardly be overstated. And the large-scale results are clearly felt. According to information provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a cosponsor of Manufacturing Day:
- For every dollar of goods produced, manufacturing generates an additional $1.43 for the U.S. economy;
- In just five states, manufacturing adds more than half a trillion dollars to the nation’s economy;
- Manufacturers are responsible for almost two-thirds of all private-sector research and development; and
- Each manufacturing job creates at least 2.91 more jobs in other sectors.
Manufacturing Day/Month presents a great opportunity to showcase how modern manufacturing is not our grandfathers’ manufacturing anymore, and is a chance to attract young people and get them excited about pursuing a highly rewarding career in a technology-driven, innovative environment that will also provide a good-paying job. It is a chance to correct common misperceptions about manufacturing in the United States today.