Fenestration Companies Host Manufacturing Day Events to Inspire Next Generation

Window & Door magazine
October 10, 2017
Meetings & Events

Manufacturing Day, sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers as an event to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, took place October 6, 2017. During this annual celebration of modern manufacturing, manufacturers around the country invited their communities—including students, educators, businesspeople, media, and politicians—to their facilities in a collective effort to educate visitors about manufacturing career opportunities and improve public perceptions of manufacturing.

“Over the next decade, modern manufacturing will generate 3.5 million job openings," says The Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. Manufacturing Day and other programs have helped NAM and The Manufacturing Institute remain at the forefront of developing workforce solutions to help meet this need and close the skills gap that threatens to leave two million manufacturing jobs unfilled by 2025, she reports. “Giving our young people and their parents the chance to see firsthand the promise of a career in modern manufacturing can turn the tide and combat the myths that harm the perception of manufacturing careers in America.”

More than 2,500 Manufacturing Day events took place for 2017, with a number of fenestration industry manufacturer-sponsored events at locations across the country; Veka Inc., Quanex Building Products, Marvin Windows & Doors and Deceuninck North America each held events.

 Students take part in a facility tour at Veka during 2017 Manufacturing Day

Veka Inc. welcomed carpentry students from the Beaver County Career & Technology Center to its plant in Fomell, Pennsylvania. The school offers vocational education to juniors and seniors at local high schools in Beaver County. The group heard a presentation on the history of Veka, the importance of manufacturing careers and the career opportunities at Veka, followed by a tour of the plant and lunch.

“We had 51 students attend the event,” says Veka Marketing Director Steve Dillon, who relates that several students were interested in part-time employment with the company while still in high school. “Even though they may not work here one day, there is still a connection. It’s so important to get students out of the house, out of school, and into communities where real life happens.”

Quanex Building Products opened the doors of its Cambridge, Ohio, manufacturing facility to student groups from nearby Guernsey and Noble counties. There, through conversations with Quanex experts and a facility tour, the students got an in-depth look at what modern manufacturing is all about.

“Our industry is facing a critical labor shortage, and there’s nothing more important right now than getting into our communities and inspiring interest in manufacturing as a viable and fulfilling career choice,” says Todd Haney, director of operations, Quanex IG. “Guernsey County offers a pro-business mindset, affordability, and an educated workforce, and it’s why we’ve continued to expand our spacer manufacturing capabilities here. With its comparatively small population, investing in the local workforce is a very important part of our business.”

On Oct. 4, 105 seventh-grade students from Pembina and Walsh County schools toured the Marvin Windows and Doors facility in Grafton, North Dakota, to receive exposure to modern manufacturing, technologies and machinery. They learned about manufacturing career opportunities as well as about the education required to pursue them.

“This is a long-range answer to our labor issue,” says Vicki Ham, HR director for Marvin’s Grafton facility. “We want to form these students' perceptions about manufacturing in general; to show them the amazing variety of career opportunities in manufacturing, and show the applicability of what they are learning today in math, physics, and English composition. We are looking to tie all that together for them.”

Deceuninck North America is joining with the Middletown, Monroe and Trenton Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Manufacturing Month, an extension of Manufacturing Day, by offering a series of educational student tours throughout October. Deceuninck will host student plant tours Oct. 12, 19 and 26, as well as an open house event Oct. 17.

Click here for more information about Manufacturing Day.