Manufacturing Day began more than 6 years ago as a national celebration to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Today, hundreds of thousands of students, young adults, parents, educators and manufacturers set aside time in late September and early October to celebrate the importance and impact of high-tech advanced manufacturing facilities to get a first-hand glimpse of the exciting career opportunities available in this evolving industry.

Sponsored nationally by the Manufacturing Institute and supported by companies, educators and other partners on a statewide level, Manufacturing Day is an innovative way for companies to engage with future talent. The idea is that "seeing is believing" when it comes to considering a career in advanced manufacturing.

We couldn’t agree more.

The industry continues to advance at lightning speed with the adoption of technologies, such as artificial intelligence, automation, electrification and 3D printing, to increase productivity, agility and quality. And the demand for an engaged, talented and skilled workforce is growing even faster.

In Indiana, there is a huge opportunity to be on the leading edge of technology adoption and in preparing a talented workforce with the right skills to ensure Indiana maintains its global leadership position as an advanced manufacturing powerhouse.

Manufacturers, educational institutions and industry partners throughout Indiana are working hard to ensure students, parents and educators get to see how products that impact the world are made in Indiana. The goal is that everyone who participates in a Manufacturing Day event gets to see how advanced manufacturing is exciting, impacts our everyday lives and offers meaningful careers for anyone who wants to be part of this growing industry. Conexus Indiana is honored to be working with advanced manufacturers and educational institutions throughout the state to deliver unforgettable Manufacturing Day 2018 events.

Manufacturing is Cool

Companies participating in Manufacturing Day events in Indiana are giving students hands-on experience with the latest technologies, such as robotics. At Major Tool & Machine in Indianapolis, the Indiana Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing, a partnership between manufacturers, education and state organizations, gave students opportunities to experiment with robots, 3D printers and automated control of machining tools. The students also got to see how rocket casings are made. 

Manufacturers are opening doors to facilities doing interesting, challenging and impactful work in the aerospace, heavy equipment and automotive industries. At Cummins, students will learn how the company designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines, and receive a tour of its facility in Columbus, Ind., on October 5.

And companies are recruiting students to Manufacturing Day who are interested in robotics, information technology and research and development. Manufacturers are showing these students and parents how tech, critical thinking and innovation apply to advanced manufacturing.

Manufacturing is evolving. And Indiana is in the lead.

Widening Talent Pathways

Conexus Indiana is eager to help expand the advanced manufacturing talent pipeline, and Manufacturing Day is an opportune time to reach students and adults who might not otherwise be exposed to the industry. College students, young adults and adult workers are being invited to Manufacturing Day events to learn about the skills needed to succeed in an advanced manufacturing career and to explore training programs available to upskill and prepare for a technology-focused workplace.  Conexus Indiana is partnering with universities, high schools, charter schools, as well as educators focused on the adult worker, to encourage their participation in Manufacturing Day events.

Hyper Local

The benefit of Manufacturing Day is that it’s a local event. Residents in each community see what the advanced manufacturers in their own back yards are producing. Lots of people are amazed when they find out what’s made in Indiana – and that some of these products are made just miles away from their schools or homes.

For instance, Indiana is a leading producer of automotive parts. It’s likely that many Hoosiers driving a car have a part – such as an engine, seat belt or fender – that has been manufactured in Indiana. Or the aluminum that is used to produce the soda can that holds your favorite soft drink was likely manufactured in Indiana. Indiana also is home to a significant production of insulin – a life-saving drug for the millions of people who suffer from diabetes. Many Hoosiers are surprised to find out that Indiana makes so much and plays such an important role in making important everyday products – automobiles, soda cans and medicines – possible. 

Indiana is the number one state in manufacturing intensity and we produce more than $100 billion in products a year. Manufacturing is Indiana’s lifeblood. Manufacturing Day is an important way to celebrate the industry’s economic impact, opportunities and significance to our everyday lives. We have great partners, such as IN-MaC that has launched a Manufacturing Micro-Grant Program to provide funding for Manufacturing Day events, to companies, educators and chambers that are collaborating to make this year’s celebration a success.

Mark Howell is president and chief executive officer of Conexus Indiana.