Held annually on the first Friday in October, Manufacturing Day helps show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders. Events range anywhere from plant tours to full day VR (virtual reality) training courses to simulate real working environments, showcasing the diverse career opportunities available in manufacturing.
Why Is It Important for Manufacturers to Host Events Like This?
Simply put – they need the talent. Manufacturing is facing not only a skills gap, but also the impending “silver tsunami” of Boomer retirements. Compounding that is the perception of the industry from Gen Z as well as their parents – neither consider careers in manufacturing for themselves or their children. The Kronos 2018 Manufacturing Day Survey conducted online by The Harris Poll in September 2018 surveyed 1,004 U.S. parents of children under 18 to explore their perceptions of the manufacturing industry as well as priorities regarding their child’s future career path.
Misperceptions About Manufacturing Careers
While 58 percent of parents1 want their child to be knowledgeable about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects and 43 percent agree STEM-focused careers have a promising future, only 20 percent of parents associate STEM education with the manufacturing industry.
However, once presented with facts about the industry’s surging growth, strong economic outlook, and wide availability of high paying jobs2 , 67% of parents said they would encourage their child to learn more about career opportunities in manufacturing.
While those statistics showcase an opportunity for parents to educate the younger side of Generation Z about manufacturing, the older portion of the group needs to be exposed to the reality of working in the industry as well. 61 million Gen Zers are poised to enter the workforce – more than enough to fill the skills gap. Manufacturing Day can help usher the future workforce into the industry by showcasing what manufacturing is (and isn’t).
What Can Manufacturers Do?
Reach out to local schools or state boards, partner with nearby STEM programs, or host plant tours. Be sure to list your event on MFGDay.com so those in your community know what’s happening!
* Manufacturing Day is organized by The Manufacturing Institute, the education and workforce partner of the National Association of Manufacturers.
Footnote 1: This survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll which surveyed 1,004 U.S. parents of children under 18. All references made to “parents” implies parents of children under 18.
Footnote 2: In the second-to-last question of the survey, respondents were given the following information and then asked to agree or disagree with a series of statements: The U.S. manufacturing industry is stable and growing, and manufacturing in America continues to be a pillar of the economy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2018, manufacturing accounted for 11.7 percent of gross domestic product in the economy. However, manufacturing faces an industry workforce crisis. There are nearly half a million manufacturing jobs unfilled today, and millions more are projected to go unfilled in the years to come. In a nut shell, manufacturing in the U.S. is holding steady and is an industry with plenty of future opportunities for those willing to take them.