College is a great option for kids but a four-year degree isn’t the only path to success. A career in manufacturing is also a great option, especially for kids that enjoy working with their hands.
And that’s what Macomb County’s Manufacturing Day event is all about. This annual event, which kicked off eight years ago, works to educate kids about careers they can pursue in the county’s booming manufacturing industry.
“Manufacturing Day allows (students) to see the opportunity and excitement that exists in this field,” Shannon Williams, the Career and Technical Education Consultant for Macomb County, says. “Participating in Manufacturing Day allows students to see many different career paths in action, from designer, to engineer, to machine tool operator.”
Manufacturing Day 2020
Under normal circumstances, kids that participate in Manufacturing Day would spend a day touring local factories and other facilities across the county to ask questions and learn about the career opportunities offered there.
Because of COVID-19, this year’s event has been reworked and revamped to provide the same great information of past events, but in a safer, more socially distant way.
“We started having the conversation about Manufacturing Day back in June because we knew that COVID wasn’t going to get better and we certainly didn’t want to cancel an opportunity for current students who are already missing out on so much because of the pandemic,” says Janelle Arbuckle-Michael, the Talent Pipeline Liason for Macomb County. So, this year, “we’re bringing it to them.”
Instead of a single-day event, Manufacturing Day 2020 will span an entire week. Six local manufacturers — RCO Engineering, Avon Machining, Fori Automation, Paslin, Michigan Production Machining and Triumph Group — will provide live videos that feature employees who break down their positions and talk about the path that they took to get there.
“This year is a very similar idea to past years, so if we had Lakeshore going to Paslin (in the past), students might get divided up into a couple groups and they’d go around and talk to individuals that work there,” Arbuckle-Michael says. This year, “younger workers are making videos and talking about their path: The classes they took in high school, how they got to work at that facility and what their day-to-day jobs are.”
These videos go up at specific times between Sept. 28 and Oct. 2, 2020, via Zoom but students can watch them at their leisure on the Manufacturing Day website.
This year’s event will also feature virtual, 3-D tours of each facility that allows students to see what each facility looks like and virtual exhibit booths from Ferris State University, Macomb Community College and Michigan Works! Young Professionals.
“You’ll be able to click on their page and it’s really like another web page that shows what they do and who they are,” Arbuckle-Michael says. ” One of the components that has historically been missing is the follow up from the schools … that’s why we added this in.”
If a student visits a facility virtually, they can find out the next steps, how to get funding and more information through these booths.
How to get involved
Manufacturing Day 2020 runs Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2020. The live video release schedule is as follows:
- Monday, Sept. 28: RCO Engineering (11:30 a.m.), Avon Machining (3 p.m.)
- Tuesday, Sept. 29: Fori Automation (7:30 a.m.)
- Wednesday, Sept. 30: Paslin (3 p.m.)
- Thursday, Oct. 1: Michigan Production Machining (11:30 a.m.)
- Friday, Oct. 2: Triumph Group (7:30 a.m.)
Manufacturing Day is free to all students and is not limited to Macomb County students or high school students — while aimed at high schoolers, all students are welcome to participate.
For more information on Manufacturing Day, including registration, visit macombmfgday.com.
This content is brought to you by the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development and the Macomb Intermediate School District. For more information on life in Macomb County, visit Make Macomb Your Home.