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How MFG Day Can Help You Attract a Skilled Workforce

Modern manufacturing is not the same as it was 50 or even 25 years ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just open the doors to your manufacturing facility and let the community know just how much it has evolved? Well, I have some great news for you! In 2012, MFG Day began paving the way to connect manufacturers with their community and dissolve negative perceptions of manufacturing.

MFG Day is an opportunity for manufacturers to break down common misconceptions of manufacturing. It gives manufacturers the opportunity to host tours, among other types of events, to show what modern manufacturing is and what it is not. MFG Day events are typically held in the first week of October of each year, but any day of the year can be a MFG Day event.

These events are a great opportunity to:

  1. Show what modern manufacturing really looks like
  2. Introduce middle and high school students to the world of manufacturing
  3. Debunk dated manufacturing myths
  4. Meet directly with job seekers
  5. Build relationships with school counselors, trade school directors, community colleges, and Workforce Investment Boards

To help ensure your event is a success, the folks at MFG Day suggest an augmented reality app that can be used by attendees on the day of your event. It’s called the Smart MFG app and it shows the story of superheroes manufacturing a drone. It allows users to solve everyday challenges and practice decision-making in product design, retooling a factory, and performing a service on a malfunctioning robot. There’s even an old-fashioned hardcopy version of the comic that can be printed and displayed as a storyboard while students and participants follow along with their phones.

Another great aspect about MFG Day is that there are multiple ways to host an event and participate. A tour of your manufacturing facility, innovation center, or other site is the right choice for you if want a complete and tailored experience for your attendees. This type of event can be held during or after business hours. Another type of event includes making a visit to a school and presenting to students in a classroom environment. This event is great if you have a small demo that you could take with you, photos or video of your manufacturing process and/or final products, or prefer to have an open conversation to answer any questions that students may have. Additional options include participating in a job fair featuring manufacturers, a manufacturing expo, or even a manufacturing-related career day event. One critical requirement to establish your event as an official MFG Day event is students, parents, and/or educators must be invited to attend. However, this can be a private invitation or an open invitation.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what is involved leading up to, during, and after your event. We’ll break it down for you. To host a MFG Day event, here are a few suggested tips:

  1. Plan and decide on the type of event you want to host – if you need assistance with this step, we can help you!
  2. Register your event online at mfgday.com
  3. Download the Host Toolkit from MFG Day to help guide you through the process
  4. Download the Event Promotion Kit provided by MFG Day for images and content specially designed and sized for social media and other channels of communication
  5. Download the Host Media Guide from MFG Day to help you garner interest for your event from local media outlets
  6. Follow up with attendees using a survey to capture their thoughts
  7. Share your story on the MFG Day website under Success Stories
  8. Upload photos from your event to the Galleries section on the MFG Day website

Through the years, we have helped numerous manufacturers throughout Virginia host successful MFG Day events. We have been able to support selected hosts in certain aspects such as being the liaison for coordinating with schools, helping with transportation costs, and providing light refreshments for attendees. While it’s never too early to start planning for your MFG Day event whether you want it in October or earlier in the year, it is important to note that the earlier the event is planned, the better the chances are of getting schools involved and getting the event on their calendars.

This is a firsthand opportunity to connect with the next generation of employees – potentially yours – through engaging with middle and high schools as well as trade schools. If you’re targeting job seekers within your community or students currently enrolled at a community college or a trade school but will soon complete their programs, think about talking to your Human Resources Department prior to the event and see if they would be open to assisting interested attendees with information on the application process. Having HR involved and present is also a good idea so that they can answer any questions related to health insurance, benefits, and other important information. There is also the opportunity to have attendees submit applications by the end of the event. Imagine having a handful of new, potential employees in your application pool by the end of your event!

If you are interested in hosting your own MFG Day event this year and are not sure where to start or would like support from GENEDGE, please contact Valerie Simpson at (276) 666-8890 ext.221 or vsimpson@genedge.org.

By Mindy Priddy, Marketing & Outreach Specialist, and Valerie Simpson, Executive Assistant, Client Liaison, GENEDGE

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