Southwest Michigan’s Manufacturing Day

An opportunity for Michigan State University Extension to connect with the local community.

The second annual Manufacturing Day event provided a venue and opportunity for local manufacturing companies to share what they do while teaching tomorrow’s work force about the many jobs and careers available in and related to the manufacturing industry. According to Career Jump Start, manufacturing is a high demand career path. Kinexus hosted the event on October 3 at Mach Mold Incorporated in Benton Harbor. Manufacturing Day welcomed hundreds of local students, teachers, parents and community members such as local officials and Michigan State University Extension staff looking to learn more. Participating companies and businesses were encouraged to include some type of hands-on or interactive component to their exhibit.

During the event students rotated through the exhibits, vendors and toured Mach Mold in small groups.  Participants had cards they presented to exhibitors to receive a stamp or signature for stopping by their booth. In addition to educational information about the businesses and potential jobs and careers, students were also given a T-shirt for attending the event.

One never knows when the opportunity to network will arise. As first-time attendees, Elaine McKee, Berrien County 4-H Program Coordinator, and I were impressed with Manufacturing Day. Robots, along with competitive team members and their teachers were on hand to promote robotics and STEM education. We plan to connect further with a teacher in Coloma who wishes to work 4-H into his robotics teams and grow the Berrien County robotics competition. We also have plans for further discussion with our region’s Career Liaison for Career Jump Start. Career Liaisons are located in ten Michigan regions and may provide a community partner opportunity for 4-H across the state as they promote high demand jobs and careers.

Manufacturing Day was fun and fruitful to identify programming partners for the future to link to 4-H and MSU Extension Career Preparation resources. Visit the National Manufacturing Day website for more information on Manufacturing Day.

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