Manufacturing Day 2020 kicks off a month-long series of virtual events to engage our communities and promote careers in modern manufacturing.

Manufacturers have implemented a range of creative solutions to operate during the pandemic to provide needed goods and protect the safety of their workers. It was no surprise then, that Manufacturing (MFG) Day 2020 proceeded in full force on October 2nd with engaging digital and virtual events throughout the country held to promote career opportunities in modern manufacturing and strengthen community ties.

A joint initiative of the Manufacturing Institute and the Fabricators and Manufacturing Association (FMA), the inaugural MFG Day was held in 2012. Since then, the first Friday in October traditionally kicks-off a month-long series of special events designed to promote manufacturing careers to students, teachers, parents, job seekers and local community members.

The Important Role of Manufacturing

This year due to COVID-19, these events are being presented virtually to  literally “Zoom-in” on the many exciting career opportunities in manufacturing. Special guests and speakers that appeared on MFG Day included Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Dr. Walter Copan, Undersecretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NSIT) Director, and Leah Curry, president of Toyota Manufacturing, Ind. Upcoming virtual events during the month are available at Creators Wanted.

“As we celebrate MFG Day across the country over the next month, we are reminded of the important role that modern manufacturing plays in each of our lives. From the masks and clothes we wear to the food we eat, modern manufacturing is at the heart of our country and, as the pandemic continues, will lead the way to our recovery and renewal,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “This year’s MFG Day, more so than ever before, is a uniquely powerful opportunity to bring awareness to the high-paying, rewarding and meaningful career opportunities in our industry and to open minds to what’s possible with a career in modern manufacturing.”

An Expected Labor Shortage

That awareness is essential to close the existing labor shortage, a shortage expected to worsen, with as many as 2.4 million positions unfilled by 2028, as estimated by the Manufacturing Institute. The Workforce Institute of UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group, formerly known as Kronos Incorporated), recently reported in Close the Talent Gap: Pre-Pandemic Insights Inform Future Workforce Strategies in Manufacturing that even prior to the pandemic, some 62 percent of decision makers surveyed reported difficulty in recruiting skilled talent. Furthermore, two in five manufacturers were experiencing higher-than-average turnover (44 percent) along with a notable spike in retirements (40 percent). In addition, surveyed manufacturers reported the extra financial burden of having to pay overtime to compensate for vacant positions (39 percent).

As a Silver sponsor of MFG Day, UKG is partnering with Women in Manufacturing (WiM) to present actionable strategies for empowering and engaging hourly workers in manufacturing, Kronos previously spoke at the tenth annual WiM SUMMIT held on September 29 and is a speaker at EMPOWER 2020, an October 19 digital conference hosted by the WiM Massachusetts chapter.

STEM Education

Members of the STEM Careers Coalition—the first-of-its-kind national STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathmatics) initiative powered by corporate leaders and anchored in schools by Discovery Education—is offering teachers and students no-cost access to exciting resources that discuss modern manufacturing practices. These include  a video series on Manufacturing-Focused Careers.

“Manufacturing Day offers educators and students nationwide the perfect opportunity to explore not only how science and STEM relate to modern manufacturing, but the diverse careers available to students today,” said Marla Wilson, Executive Director of the STEM Careers Coalition. “We are grateful to our partners in the business community for their efforts to share with all learners these engaging digital resources highlighting both manufacturing’s connection to science and STEM and the possibilities open to today’s students in tomorrow’s manufacturing careers.”

Government Promotes Manufacturing

The U.S. Census Department created a special MFG Day web page chock full of statistics and data products as well historical facts about manufacturing.  And the White House released a special proclamation on the importance of manufacturing to the strength of the national economy and security, as well as how manufacturing has been essential in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In touching upon these and many other MFG Day events that will take place this month, Industry Today continues our ongoing commitment to keeping our readers informed about the latest developments in modern manufacturing.

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