How would you like to have scores of Americans knocking on your firm’s doors, hoping for a peek inside? They’d ask to see what cool new technologies you are using, what new products you’re creating, if you’re digital, virtual or subatomic, and what your jobs and careers look like. You’d be the American Idol of Manufacturing!
The participants on the TV show American Idol get great exposure to the show business world and many idol-ers get great gigs after their appearances. When viewers watch the show, they get a sense of what it would be like to work in the performing arts. It is a tremendous “vehicle” to showcase new talent and the performance industry, and it’s viewed by millions.
Manufacturers need to take the same approach as American Idol so that kids can see just how incredible today’s manufacturing is. The next generation of manufacturing employees – the Millennials – are growing up fast in a digital, global, made-to-order world, and they intrinsically understand the technology, products and services they want from the marketplace.
Yet, one of the things they, and their parents, don’t understand is how things get made. This is because so little good news has been reported about manufacturing over the last decade that the Millennials have grown up in a world generally unaware of what 21st century manufacturing looks like. Manufacturing ranks dead last among career choices for 18- to 24-year-olds, as reported in Workforce.com this past August. One of the reasons kids steer clear of manufacturing jobs is that parents guide their children into careers they (the parents) are familiar with. And, let’s face it, they are not familiar with manufacturing as it exists today. They know what it means to be a doctor, but they don’t realize that their titanium knees and hips are designed and made by American manufacturers. Or that the carbon prosthetics for veterans, the heart monitors for athletes, and the safety gear for ski-boarders are as well. In order for Millennials to understand today’s manufacturing, their parents must also understand its role in everyday life.
That’s why manufacturers need to participate in Manufacturing Day on October 5, 2012. Manufacturing Day highlights the importance of “making things” to the American economy and draws attention to the many cool jobs in 21st century manufacturing.
This national open house hopes to introduce as many people as possible to the new careers that modern manufacturing has – such as nanotechnican, 3D graphic artist, design engineer, materials manager, data analyst, and digital supply director. The October 5 grassroots open houses are being co-produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, and the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers. Manufacturers have been signing up around the country hoping to show their communities what next generation manufacturing looks like. Events include facility tours and presentations and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information about how you and your manufacturing colleagues can participate and become American manufacturing idols, go to the Manufacturing Day website and sign up, and get them to sign up too! www.mfgday.com.