MFG Day 2021: Change Perceptions and Inspire Students to Choose a Fluid Power Career Path

MFG Day (Manufacturing Day) is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of skilled workers and is an initiative of The Manufacturing Institute, a workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. Each fall, manufacturers across America open their doors to show their communities what manufacturing really looks like. NFPA supports events like these both through our own programs and by encouraging members to take advantage of opportunities like MFG Day to inspire the next generation of skilled workers.

These events generate excitement and help students connect to their curriculum in a concrete way as they return to class in the fall. We have heard numerous instructors note improvements to student understanding of concepts and enthusiasm about learning more from touring facilities or otherwise seeing different fluid power applications so that they can visualize how they are going to implement them in the future.

“NFPA member companies report that workforce development is ranked among our industry’s biggest challenges,” said Eric Lanke, NFPA President and CEO. “As a result, one of NFPA’s primary strategic priorities is growing the fluid power workforce. Initiatives like MFG Day demonstrate to students the benefits of choosing careers in the industry. MFG Day allows students to witness the same positive company cultures that advocate for creation, innovation and aptitude that I see when I visit our members’ facilities.”

Traditionally, MFG Day celebrations have consisted of facility tours. However, there are other ways to connect with students and introduce them to fluid power and careers in the industry, including:

  • Employee Q&A: Engineers explain to students what ‘a day in the life’ is like, how they got into the industry, etc.
  • Team Project: Engineers work with students to help assemble a basic fluid power classroom kit.
  • Company video or a virtual information session: Even though MFG Day is officially the first Friday in October, this option allows for continued and broader promotion by creating a shareable and repeatable experience.

The NFPA Speakers Bureau program is a great way to engage with students either in person or virtually. A draft presentation template will help you effectively talk about your personal job experience, your company and the many exciting careers currently available—what industries they’re in, what they pay and the markets they serve. NFPA can help promote your event, get you connected with our education partners, or share your content with them.

If you do plan to host a MFG Day event this year, be sure to incorporate these best practices that were shared by the Manufacturing Institute on how to improve inaccurate perceptions of manufacturing careers:

  1. Tie careers to creativity.
  2. Link careers to technology and how creators produce something tangible and real.
  3. Show the range of entry points and paths to careers.
  4. Signal the demand and the rewards of manufacturing careers.

You can find other tips and guidelines in the MFG Day resource archive.

Whether virtual, one-day or extended, these events allow students, parents and the general public to explore first-hand the world of manufacturing and its career options and can be scheduled throughout the year.

Tell us about your event! Please send any ideas you have or details about your planned event to Stephanie Scaccianoce at sscaccianoce@nfpa.com so that we can help promote the ways our industry is working to change the perception of modern manufacturing and inspire the next generation! 

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