Students tour Ashley Furniture manufacturing plants virtually
October 26, 2020 | 10:31 am CDT

ARCADIA, Wis. – October is National Manufacturing Month and Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. is still celebrating despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Although in-person events and tours are unable to happen this year, nearly 2,000 middle school students surrounding the company’s manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi have been invited for an educational virtual tour this month.

Students will see a variety of career opportunities available within the company from operating a machine to designing furniture. Students will also learn about the importance of manufacturing and the economic benefits of the industry. 

Manufacturing month kicks off annually with National Manufacturing Day in early October. National Manufacturing Day is the industry’s biggest initiative to build excitement around the future of the modern manufacturing workforce and engage with students to demonstrate opportunities within the industry.

“We are passionate about inspiring future creators by exposing them to the incredible career pathways that modern manufacturing offers,” said Todd Wanek, president and CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “Manufacturing is a rapidly advancing industry and it needs our help to ensure the future jobs are not left unfilled.”

Participating schools in Mississippi include North Pontotoc Middle School and Ripley Middle School, and Davie County middle schools in North Carolina. Participating school districts in Wisconsin include Arcadia, Arcadia Holy Family, Blair-Taylor, Cochrane-Fountain City, Eleva-Strum, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Independence, Independence SSPP, and Whitehall. In Pennsylvania, Schuylkill Valley Middle School will partner with Ashley for tours.

“Career exploration for young students has a significant impact on student’s future career path selections,” said Anthony Davis, Davie County School District Director of CTE and Federal Programs. “By providing opportunities like this, Ashley Furniture is showing our students opportunities in their own communities they may not have been aware of. We would like to acknowledge the effort Ashley has put in to allow us to continue our annual Manufacturing Day tour in a virtual platform.”  Ashley has developed a number of partnerships with K-12 as well as post-secondary schools over the past five years. Combined efforts have included investing in STEM-based learning opportunities, scholarships, providing students with exposure to technical trades and career opportunities, instructor training, and robotics programs. See

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Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at