National Manufacturing Day was bigger than ever this year, drawing thousands of manufacturers to open their doors to students and the public across the United States. The goal? Show modern manufacturing in action to inspire students into manufacturing careers. Oregon has a long history of Manufacturing Day celebrations and this year was no exception. More participants from around the state got involved, including Eugene and Springfield companies. The results were tremendous.
A Partnership for Success
Through Connected Lane County, Food and Beverage Strategist Micha Elconin, Springfield Area Chamber
of Commerce, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, and several partners in manufacturing. 185 students from 18 high schools around the county were given an opportunity to tour eight food production and wood products manufacturing companies.
From chocolate to plywood, tours showed students the production processes, tools, techniques, and people who make some of the area’s finest products. More importantly, companies discussed career pathways with students, to help identify skills and knowledge required to move up the career ladder in their companies. During his tour of Hexion, a Willamette High School student said,
“I’m here today to check out the wood industry; see what’s out there around wood products, paper mills, and to see what I can do with hands-on work. Hands-on work has interested me for some time now. I’m interested in hands-on work and being active rather than sitting down at a job.”
Scott McIntyre, North American Business Director of Adhesives from Hexion introduced the tour with powerful words.
“… If you are thinking about finding your ‘why’: why should I stay in school, why should I think about this as a career. You are going to have to figure out how to make money and the way you are going to do that is graduate high school first. I did it. The more you can juggle, the more they are going to pay you.
This is not rocket science. An employer has a job that needs tobe done, if you can fill that slot and create a skill set of expertise at something, they are going to pay you for it. You can make good money out there, in the hourly sector, you can move into management and go salary, whatever you want to do. It is all about how motivated you are and the things you really desire.”
Students learned firsthand about manufacturing in Lane
County, including career opportunities they may not have considered. On the tour of International Paper, a Pleasant Hill High School student was surprised by the volume of products she saw. She put it this way:
“The most interesting is how much paper they actually make. The brown paper in massive, massive rolls. Like 40 of me- that is how big they were. That was a pretty neat tour, I learned a lot.”
The group participated in coordinated bus tours to 8 companies, including Euphoria Chocolate, Sno Temp Cold Storage, Seneca,
Murphy Company, Hexion, International Paper, Glory Bee and Chocolate Alchemy, with a guide from each supporting organization joining the tour.
“Events like National Manufacturing Day are crucial for our students. Providing students with career connected learning and access to industry tours can help students envision themselves in certain careers, and inspire them in the classroom to work towards developing the knowledge, skills, and mindsets that will enable them to adapt to flexible workforce needs and to compete for high-wage, high-demand careers.” Heidi Larwick, Executive Director of Connected Lane County
Overall, Manufacturing Day in Eugene and Springfield succeeded in inviting students to get an intimate view of a career they likely had not considered. They are poised for even greater success in the years to come, thanks to a strong regional partnership and manufacturers who are willing to open their doors.
Manufacturers who generously opened their doors included: Euphoria Chocolate, SnoTemp Cold Storage, Seneca, Murphy Company, Hexion, International Paper, Glory Bee, Chocolate Alchemy
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