Indiana is a state with a strong manufacturing base. Like most regions, One Southern Indiana (1si) is to help employers meet the challenges of a limited workforce in this industry. One approach we have taken is to embrace National Manufacturing Week.
Founded as a national event by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) in 2012, Manufacturing Day was determined to be an excellent way to reverse negative perceptions about manufacturing jobs and careers. Industry leaders believed Manufacturing Day events were the best way to literally demonstrate the exciting variety of work taking place in manufacturing facilities across the country.
1si works with seven school systems across the region to coordinate tours for interested students to tour manufacturing facilities near their schools over three days in the month of October. This past year, 1,300+ regional students participated by touring 21 facilities from October 16 through October 18. (Actually, national manufacturing week is the first week in October, but our regional schools are on fall break at that time.)
National studies are showing positive results with regards to Manufacturing Day activities. For example, of the students who participated in last year’s event nationally, 84 percent said they were more convinced manufacturing provided careers that were interesting and rewarding, and 64 percent were more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing.
National Manufacturing Day events and participation have exploded for One Southern Indiana. In 2014, the first year of regional activities, eight companies offered tours to approximately 100 students. This past year, 21 regional manufacturers hosted tours for more than 1,300 students.
Schools systems provide their own transportation to each facility but 1si solicited participation from our local manufacturers, set up the times available for tours and coordinated the schedule. We also solicited donations for students who may be out of school over lunch.
The event also featured a press conference, typically held annually on the first morning of tours, highlighting the importance of manufacturing and the great career opportunities it can provide. Speakers include both industry thought leaders and individuals who have worked through the ranks in a manufacturing facility to create a lucrative and successful career. We end the three-day celebration with an all-member networking event, sponsored by a member.
For additional details about the 1si event, contact:
Suzanne Ruark, Director, Marketing and Communications
One Southern Indiana