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We Made It! Manufacturing Day 2017 A Huge Success

Monday, October 23, 2017

Each year, the National Association of Manufacturers celebrates Manufacturing Day on the first Friday of October. For a manufacturing-focused state like Indiana, involving the community—and especially showing students the types of careers available in the industry—is a pretty big deal.

Several myths still persist as far as what manufacturing is and looks like, so getting people to understand the reality of today’s modern manufacturing facilities (and the jobs and skills needed to perform those jobs) is important to the future of the industry, which means it’s important to the future of Indiana and graduates staying in Indiana.

Luckily, companies and local organizations across the state are aware of that importance and each year celebrate Manufacturing Day with activities, outreach programs and even tours of their facilities. 2017 was no exception. Among the many:

Starke County Economic Development Foundation introduced approximately 500 students to a number of large area employers. “We hope this event will make what they do here more readily apparent to people in the county, and in this case, especially to the 7th graders and seniors who will someday be working for these companies,” said SCEDF Executive Director Charles Weaver.

The South Bend Region participated for its 4th Manufacturing Day by taking students from the area’s high schools to tour both manufacturing companies as well as education and training facilities. Over 22 manufacturers and post-secondary education partners were involved in this region, helping to cement a clear pathway for local students to become local workers.

In Steuben County, local organizations held an expo event called “Made in Steuben” which showcased local manufacturers who set up displays and offered related activities for area residents and students. The event was meant to increase pride and awareness of the area’s manufacturing community as well as expose students to career paths they may not have considered or understood.

In Portage the Portage Economic Development Corporation hosted Manufacturing Day 360 Degrees on October 18th where students viewed two videos and Sandy Alverez from the Center of Workforce Innovations spoke. Students then toured local businesses and saw on-site operations. After the tours students returned and Aco Sikoski from Ivy Tech spoke to the students.

In La Porte County, the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City and the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation partnered as they have in previous years to put on the “Made in La Porte County” event. This event actually took place in mid-September due to scheduling, but serves the same function by hosting some 50 companies for the public and for local students to gain a better understanding of what businesses operate in their area and what products are manufactured, assembled and/or distributed. The event had approximately 2,000 students attend. “To see students come in, their faces light up, they get a new appreciation for what manufacturing means,” said GLEDC Executive Director Bert Cook.

Beyond organizations hosting expos and events, many companies work with schools to bring students in for tours as well. CalPipe Industries in Hobart, Carmeuse Lime and Stone in Gary and Apex Exhaust in Gary are a few examples. ArcelorMittal is active as well, going to local schools and presenting students with more information about the steel maker’s Steelworker for the Future training program.

A few days following Manufacturing Day, a number of companies were inducted into the Indiana Manufacturers Hall of Fame, so in honor of Manufacturing Day we’d like to recognize those companies here. To be a hall of fame company, the Indiana Manufacturers Association says a company must have contributed to Indiana’s “healthy, dynamic environment” and to the state’s economic well-being.

Four out of the eleven companies are located in Northern Indiana:

  • Jessen Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Elkhart
  • Michigan City Paper Box Co. in Michigan City
  • Myers Spring Co. in Logansport
  • Zimmer Biomet Inc. in Warsaw

Congratulations to each of these companies and thank you for all you’ve done for your areas!