More than 160 high school students attended the Greenville campus’ first MFG Day. Sponsored in conjunction with the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute, it was one of hundreds of similar events held throughout the nation during the month of October. The goal: Expose young people to a profession that has long been misunderstood.
“When people see what modern manufacturing is really all about, they find that it’s a highly-technical workplace filled with automated systems and robotics,” says ECPI University Greenville Campus President Karen Burgess. “They also learn that this is no longer a dirty, physically-intensive job. Today’s advanced manufacturing facilities are modern, clean, and staffed by skilled professionals that operate, maintain, and troubleshoot all kinds of electronic, mechanical, and computer-based systems.”
What’s more, these jobs are in demand. The Manufacturing Institute estimates nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs nationwide must be filled over the next decade, yet only about 1.5 million people will possess the necessary skills to do the work. What remains is widely known among manufacturers as the “Skill Gap.”
Nearly 20 employers and organizations, including General Electric, Michelin, and Draxlmaier, participated in the Greenville event, interacting with students and allowing them to see technology in action, including robots, automated machinery, and 3-D printers. Equally important, they learned what kind of education is required to enter the manufacturing field.
“This was an excellent beginning,” says Ms. Burgess. “We had a great response from both students and our strategic partners. “We’re already looking forward to next year.”