High school students from Oakland Schools’ four technical campuses and other local schools will tour 35 high-tech manufacturing locations in the county October 6 as part of National Manufacturing Day.
Students will see firsthand the state-of-the-art technologies used in today’s manufacturing and discuss the processes with the highly skilled professionals during facility tours scheduled throughout Oakland County during the morning-long event.
“The goal of our third annual Manufacturing Day in Oakland County is to inspire our young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and the skilled trades,” County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “There are a lot of great, in-demand jobs available in our region and this event helps introduce them to these opportunities. It’s an exciting day for all those who participate – the students, their teachers and the manufacturers who host the tours.”
Oakland County Manufacturing Day is organized by the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, in partnership with Oakland Schools, Oakland Community College, the Oakland County Business Roundtable’s Oakland NEXT committee and Oakland County Michigan Works! Event’s sponsors include Magna International, Lawrence Technological University, Kelly Services, FCA – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Automation Alley, Wenzel and Oakland Community College.
Nationally, the U.S. manufacturing sector supports more than 18.5 million jobs, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The manufacturing sector accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product annually, according to NIST data.
Southfield-based automotive supplier Comau is hosting students at three locations in Oakland County. Mark Bologna, head of manufacturing at Comau-NAFTA, said the increase in automation and digital factories has made it critical to have a highly skilled manufacturing workforce and Manufacturing Day introduces a new generation of potential employees to the company.
“The opportunities in today’s manufacturing environment are exciting and varied, offering a wide variety of interesting challenges to people just entering the workforce,” Bologna said. “Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity for students looking at possible career choices to learn firsthand about Comau’s advanced technologies and types of jobs required to design, manufacture and launch automation systems within a digital environment.”
Other Oakland County manufacturers hosting students include AAM – Auburn Hills Manufacturing, ABB Inc., Atlas Copco Tools and Assembly Systems LLC, Automation & Modular Components, BEHCO-MRM, Berkley Machine Products, Brose North America, Cosma Body Assembly Michigan, DASI Solutions, DENSO, Encore Automation, Fata Automation Inc., Ferndale Laboratories Inc., Garden Fresh Gourmet, General Motors Global Propulsion Systems – Pontiac Engineering Center, GKN, Gonzalez Production Systems, Hirata Corporation of America, Hirotec America Inc., High-Tech Mold & Engineering, Inductoheat Inc., Kawasaki Robotics (USA) Inc., Lear Corp., Mahindra Automotive North America, Moeller Aerospace, Moeller Precision Tool, MPD Welding Inc., Roechling Automotive, Total Door and Wenzel America Ltd.
As with any event, volunteers play a key role, with two adults accompanying students to each tour site.
Paul Galbenski, dean of the Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northeast in Pontiac, said Manufacturing Day is an important component of career development and planning for high school students. There are four technical campuses: Clarkston, Pontiac, Royal Oak and Wixom. They provide students with both technical skills in a variety of fields and the required academic credits to graduate. The opportunity to bring education and industry together during Manufacturing Day is a win-win situation for everyone, he said.
“Our students win as they are able to visualize how the technical training they are receiving from us opens doors for them to career options in manufacturing and skilled trades,” Galbenski said. “It’s a win for our business and industry partners as they have potential future employees in their facilities to show them the multitude of high wage, high demand and high skills careers available in Michigan and around the globe.”
In addition to the tours, students will participate in an interactive presentation on in-demand skills and advanced manufacturing jobs throughout Metro Detroit by representatives from Troy-based Kelly Services. Topics include the value of building a professional network, how to leverage social media to find employment and the importance of gaining new skills throughout their working lives to adapt to the rapid pace of change in the workplace.
National Manufacturing Day is increasing positive perceptions of manufacturing with students. According to a survey of 1,400 Manufacturing Day 2016 participants from across the country, sponsored by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte:
- 90 percent thought the Manufacturing Day activities were interesting and engaging
- 84 percent said that they were now more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities
- 81 percent thought manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding
- 62 percent were more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing
On social media, connect to the event using #MfgDay17 and #MfgOak.