KENTWOOD, Mich. -- Stiles Machinery Inc. opened its doors to local students on October 5 to mark Manufacturing Day, a nationwide event that takes place each year to inspire the next generation and offer them insights into what manufacturing looks like today and how it is impacting the future.

The event at Stiles was a success, with almost 100 students attending from local high schools.

Students began the day with a tour of Homag Machinery North America, where they saw how German-engineered flat table CNC machines are built and assembled in Michigan. From there, students made the trip down the road to the Stiles Machinery headquarters where they were able to see those same machines in action as Stiles team members led a hands-on demonstration in the manufacturing of electric guitar bodies.

Paul DeLosh shows students pieces of material that were just cut on a panel saw.

Katie Bush, a teacher at Kenowa Hills Pathways High School, explained why she believes this opportunity was an important one for her students.

“We have students that have opted out of the traditional classroom environment for various reasons, many of which will be career bound straight out of high school and don’t know what their options are,” she said. “This trip gave them an idea of what opportunities are out there for them.”

“This trip to Stiles has helped us build upon the foundation of what we are trying to do at Kenowa Hills Pathways High School,” said English teacher Tim Chrapek, “by providing students with an education both within and outside of the four walls of their school.”

Many students also expressed their experience at Stiles’ Manufacturing Day Event including Aidan Ewing, a senior from Kenowa Hills, who mentioned how this opportunity has affected his plans for the future.

“When thinking about working in a factory, I’ve always envisioned an uncomfortable environment, but after touring Homag and Stiles, I realized that I was wrong. Everything was clean and open, and it seemed like things were very effective and productive,” said Ewing.

When asked if he would be interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing Ewing responded that before today he would have said no, but after today he would definitely be interested in it.