ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Manufacturing Day is a special day that companies across America salute modern manufacturing and bring it to the attention of the next generation of workers.

Now in its fifth year, Manufacturing Day is a “host it or attend it” opportunity, slated for the first Friday in October (October 7 in 2016). Companies and schools open their doors for tours, presentations and the showcasing of programs, processes, facilities, cutting-edge manufacturing and more. The number of participants has grown from a few hundred the first year to more than 2,600 in 2015.

When a company registers to host an event, they gain access to numerous event planning resources created by the co-producers of the event -- Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, National Association of Manufacturers, Manufacturing Institute and Manufacturing Extension Partnership – such as a host toolkit, plant tour guide, social media playbook and more.

AWFS shared the stories of several companies that have been involved in the event, or plan to participate for the first time.

“The severe shortage of manufacturing workers is only going to get worse if we, as manufacturers, don’t start recruiting the younger generations,” says Scott Schaeper of RB Tool & Mfg. Co., which is offering a tour of their facility and will showcase their CNC machines and day-to-day manufacturing processes on October 7.  Participating every year since Manufacturing Day began, they have hosted over 1,000 students.

Not surprisingly they learned that students didn’t realize how clean and comfortable the facility would be. “We seized the opportunity to change the perception of manufacturing for the students who visited, showing them that the field of manufacturing can provide unique, exciting and rewarding careers” says Schaeper who sits on the advisory board for two local high schools. The best outcome for RB Tool? They were able to hire several students who visited on Manufacturing Day.

Mastercam also got on board in the first year (2012) and has seen more and more young people come through their doors each successive year. In the 2016 event, they will afford visitors the chance to see their machine shop in action—testing Mastercam toolpaths, cutting parts and exploring the latest software features. They also plan to talk about their environmental practices that they employ to lessen their impact on the environment.

Mastercam is partnering with Edge Factor, the official media provider for Manufacturing Day. Edge Factor helps develop content for hosts to use as well as provides turnkey event materials -- making it easier than ever to host an event. Edge Factor creates dynamic videos of various contemporary technical trades, targeting schools with their entertaining and informative profiles. A video on the opportunities in manufacturing will be shown in the Mastercam training facility.

“We encourage everyone to open their doors on Manufacturing Day,” says Michelle Nemeth of Mastercam, “including our resellers and customers in North America.  It is so important to change the way students and young adults view manufacturing and it is always so nice after the event to see students excited about what they saw and learned from us. The students are excited, teachers are excited and the field of manufacturing is now exciting for them.”

Architectural Woodwork Co. in Monterey Park, California, plans to host an event offering a tour of their 60,000 square foot custom millwork shop. AWC works with top Los Angeles designers and architects on high-end millwork projects. For the Manufacturing Day event, a variety of wood products manufacturing vendors will be on hand to represent various sectors of the industry such as hardwood, engineered wood, veneer, panel processing, hardware, tooling, drafting and CAD. They also plan to talk about various job areas such as CNC operation, project management, purchasing, detailing, machine technician, finishing and shipping. Participating vendors include Royal Plywood, Hafele, Sherwin Williams, Danzer Group, One Source (3M Distributor) and Colonial Saw.

“We want the students who visit to see how someone’s design vision comes to fruition,” says Saúl Martín, AWC Plant Superintendent. “We are fully committed to the future of the woodworking industry through our involvement in SkillsUSA California and the Woodwork Career Alliance.” Saúl helps create the woodworking and cabinetmaking projects for the regional and state SkillsUSA California competitions and he is trained as a Skill Evaluator in the WCA’s Wood Manufacturing Skill Standards, which allows him to assess students or employees on the various tool and machine standards.

For more information, or to register your company to host an event or find and attend an event, go to Host listings show the company name and logo, event description and a map pinpointing the event location. In addition to resources for hosts, the site includes a searchable database of events to attend. A sampling of participating manufacturers includes Anderson Doors & Windows, Taylor Guitars, Kellex Seating and Paul Downs Custom Conference Tables. On the site you can also browse photos and videos of previous events.

Participating in Manufacturing Day is a perfect venue for dispelling misconceptions about manufacturing, connecting with future generations and helping to change the public perception of careers in manufacturing. Also see

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