October has a special place in the hearts of Illinois Manufacturers. That’s because in Illinois, October is Manufacturing Month. And while the entire month is dedicated to manufacturing and its impact on the world around us, one day in particular stands out as a sort of open house, when manufacturers throw open their doors and invite people in to see what manufacturing means in the modern world. This year, October 1st is National Manufacturing Day (MFGDay).
The reality of manufacturing in 2021 is far from the reality of decades past. Manufacturing is now more technology-driven than ever before. An entirely new set of skills is required on today’s shop floor. Employees with those skills are often difficult for manufacturers to find because the people who are technology wizards rarely consider manufacturing as a potential field of employment. In the past, the perception was that manufacturing and technology were at odds with each other: one was manual; the other existed only inside the “brain” of a computer. And, neither one of them required creativity. Manufacturing Day is the opportunity for manufacturers to change that perception.
And change it, they must. By 2031, manufacturers will have 2.1 million jobs to fill. They’ll need workers who see manufacturing not as a fallback job, but as a vibrant industry where they can employ their finely-honed technology skills and build a rewarding career. Employees will also be needed in other business areas: marketing, accounting, human resources, customer services, and logistics to name a few.
Where to Start
So, when planning for your Manufacturing Month peek behind the curtain, where do you start? Who do you invite? What kind of events should you include?
Fortunately, IMEC has created the ultimate Manufacturing Day toolkit with ideas galore for you to plan a successful day, whether you’re an old hand at creating these events or this is your maiden voyage.
The first thing to consider – based upon current conditions in your location – is whether to hold an in-person event or go the virtual route. Last year’s events were virtual and worked out well, so you are not sacrificing success if you decide to go virtual. You may also want to consider hosting a hybrid event.
Next, think about what kinds of events you want to produce. Plant tours are at the heart of Manufacturing Day, and provide the best opportunity to show off what you do and where you do it, and to help prospective employees picture themselves doing the work. Product demonstrations can bolster the tour. Also, don’t limit tours to the shop floor. Introduce your tourists to the customer service, marketing, administrative, and accounting departments too.
Another great event idea is a community expo. You can work with the local Chamber of Commerce, manufacturing associations or companies that regularly do business with manufacturers to host a breakfast, lunch, job fair or other educational fair to support local Manufacturing Day efforts.
Once you determine what kind of event you will produce, it’s time to think about your guest list. Local high schools, technical colleges, chamber of commerce, and local elected officials provide a good starting point. And remember to invite the media – you want as much coverage of your efforts as possible.
For more information about producing Manufacturing Day events, both in-person and virtual, visit the IMEC website.
One thing you can do right now to boost awareness of the rewarding manufacturing jobs available, is participate in the IMEC Manufacturing Careers Social Media Campaign. In 1-2 sentences, share why you pursued your career in manufacturing.
Featured Events for Manufacturing Month:
EXPAND YOUR SEARCH: Recruitment Marketing in a Digital World Webinar
October 8 | 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
This session will highlight tactics that enable your organization to more quickly find and attract the right candidates, increase awareness of your company, and also build your talent pipeline to support recruiting for future roles.
October 13 | 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Building a Sustainable Workforce Through Apprenticeships and the Integration of Advanced Technologies Webinar
October 20 | 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Registered apprenticeship training programs like robotics, artificial intelligence, and the application of green processes are creating manufacturing environments to operate more efficiently and flexibility to adapt to the changing wokforce. This webinar will allow you to hear directly from manufacturers utilizing Apprenticeship Illinois and advanced technologies to address common pain points changing the future of manufacturing.
How We Did It: A Conversation with Manufacturers about Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Success
October 27 | 10:00 am - 11:00 am
The first of a new monthly series will feature a panel discussion with woman owned manufacturers on their journeys, sharing best practices and advice that can help entrepreneurs in all industries.
IGNITE YOUR FUTURE: Automation and Workforce Solutions for Manufacturers
Richard J. Daley College | 7500 S Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL
October 28 | 8:30 am - 1:00 pm
Across the manufacturing industry, the workforce skills gap is a significant challenge for most companies – but there are strategies and opportunities to face it head-on. Join us at Richard J. Daley College to learn from other manufacturing leaders who have identified ways to address the skills gap and hiring challenges.