Manufacturing Month shines spotlight on area producers
ASU Mid-South, local chambers highlight training and career opportunities
www.asumidsouth.edu Arkansas State University Mid-South joined manufacturers, Chambers of Commerce, economic development groups, and other education institutions and training programs last Friday to highlight National Manufacturing Day, followed by a month of related activities in October.
The annual national event is recognized in communities across the country and is supported by thousands of manufacturers, colleges, and other training providers as they host students, manufacturing industry representatives, business leaders, and community members at open houses, facility tours, and other activities to highlight the high-tech and innovative companies that are solving tomorrow’s challenges today. Local activities began on October 3 as West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon proclaimed October 4 as Manufacturing Day and October as Manufacturing Month.
Dr. Callie Dunavin, Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives and Workforce Education at ASU Mid-South, explained: “As we salute manufacturing in October, we reaffirm that our area manufacturers are primary drivers of the economic growth of our community and region. Today’s advanced manufacturing is powered by sophisticated digital technology, precision, automation, and innovation and is providing some of the country’s highest skilled and best-paying jobs. Not just jobs, but careers for a lifetime. This is a stark contradiction to the perception that many individuals still hold of dark, dirty, cold, and unsafe factories; unskilled labor; and very low wages from decades ago. Partnerships between manufacturers and educational institutions at all levels are essential to increase awareness of career opportunities in today’s advanced technological manufacturing environments and to provide the education and training opportunities that align with manufacturers’ skilled workforce needs.”
First held in 2012 by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Manufacturing Day is now organized by The Manufacturing Institute—the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. The kick-off events around the country and month-long initiative gives manufacturers the opportunity to address the skills gaps they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the industry as a whole.
The Manufacturing Institute indicates that manufacturing accounts for approximately one-third of the U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product), contributing $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy, and has the highest multiplier effect of any major sector. For every dollar spent in manufacturing, another $1.82 is added to the economy, and for every job created in manufacturing, four additional new jobs are created in the broader economy.
According to City of West Memphis economic development data, eight of the major employers in West Memphis represent the manufacturing sector, employing more than 2,000 area residents.
Nationally, manufacturing employers project a skilled worker shortage of 4.6 million by 2025, presenting an opportunity for more people to enter high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand
with the right training.
ASU Mid-South will celebrate manufacturing throughout the month of October, culminating with a manufacturing expo, MAKING IT. WORKS.
on campus on October 24, designed to showcase local and regional manufacturers who partner with the College to train individuals for manufacturing careers and to upskill the existing manufacturing workforce.
Activities are planned to help inform and increase understanding of the opportunities, creativity, innovation, and accomplishments that are attainable in today’s progressive high-touch manufacturing environments. Participants will have the opportunity to interact directly with manufacturers to learn more about individual companies and the products they make and with ASU Mid-South manufacturing faculty to learn about the College’s programs in Welding Technology, Machining Technology, and Mechatronics and training opportunities that lead to careers in manufacturing.
As a highlight of the October 24 manufacturing expo, ASU Mid-South will welcome the American Welding Society/Lincoln Electric Explore Careers in Welding mobile laboratory to its campus. Using virtual reality welding simulators, participants will be able to experience hands-on welding using the newest training technology. The exhibit will also include a variety of displays about welding and the world of welding.
“This is a great experience for our community and our area students,” offered Darrell Fisher, lead instructor in Welding Technology at ASU Mid-South. “There are so many great careers and earnings potential available for those with welding skills and training.
This type of interactive experience is a unique, fun way to inspire people to explore a career.”
The MAKING IT.
WORKS. expo is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on October 24 at the Workforce Technology Center on the ASU Mid-South campus. Individuals who participate in the expo will receive giveaways, such as t-shirts and caps, and lucky winners of various activities will earn prizes, including one welding scholarship to be awarded by the American Welding Society. Participants will be able to purchase food and beverages from on-site food trucks, and free pizza will be served beginning at 11:30 a.m. for as long as quantities last.
For more information, contact Diane Hampton, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, dhampton@asumidsouth.
edu, or (870) 733-6880