There are hundreds of so-called “national days” for different topics, starting with National Hangover Day on January 1st and ending with National Champagne Day on December 31st. According to the website National Day Calendar, “There are over 1,500 national days.” Go to the site and you’ll find days celebrating things like National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, National Random Acts of Kindness Day, National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day, and National Moonshine Day. Nestled among these myriad national days is National Manufacturing Day℠, celebrated on the first Friday in October. According to the site, “[National Manufacturing Day is set aside to] celebrate those who proudly stand behind our goods and services made in America. Americans continue to develop products and unlock new technologies that grow our economy. They create jobs through entrepreneurship, and their competitiveness revitalizes American manufacturing. On National Manufacturing Day, more than 1,600 American manufacturers will open their doors and take up the important work of inspiring our young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering. Today’s science, technology, engineering, and math graduates will power the next chapter of American production and innovation, and harnessing their potential is an economic imperative.”
Unlike many national days that pass largely unrecognized, National Manufacturing Day draws the attention of many large manufacturers. Last year, the Manufacturing Institute reports, “Nearly 3,000 events took place across the country where manufacturers and educators opened their doors, offered plant tours and engaged their community. Thousands of students, parents, and teachers learned about the rewarding careers that manufacturing offers, and experienced first-hand about the high-tech innovations in 21st century manufacturing. Manufacturing Day expands knowledge and improves public perception about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing really is.”
This year marks the seventh observance of Manufacturing Day. According to National Day Calendar, “Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey proclaimed the first official Manufacturing Day in 2012. President Barack Obama signed the Presidential Proclamation in 2014.” If your company wants to get involved next year, the Manufacturing Institute has developed two simple requirements your event must meet in order to be recognized as an official MFG Day event. Those requirements are:
- The event must consist of a tour of a manufacturing facility, office, innovation center, or other site; other creative student-invite type of event at a manufacturing or manufacturing-supporting site (e.g., design office, software company, etc.); school event about manufacturing; manufacturing-related jobs fair; manufacturing-related career day event; or manufacturing product expo or similar event.
- Must be open to students, parents and/or educators.
Among the events taking place this year, is one sponsored by IndustryWeek in cooperation with Applied Industrial Technologies. According to the magazine, “The goal of the event is simple: to expose a critical new generation to an industry that is critical to America’s health and prosperity.” During the event, “IndustryWeek will connect over 70 local [Cleveland area] high school students with top area manufacturers to help finally reverse America’s talent gap. … Students in grades 9-12 will participate in roundtable discussions with local mentors and young manufacturing professionals, and take hands-on tours of local manufacturing facilities, including ABB, Foseco, Lincoln Electric and SKF. … This event will showcase the diverse range of career opportunities the manufacturing industry presents — from engineering and cybersecurity to welding and metalworking.” Other sponsors include: Foseco, Team NEO, Delta Dental, MAGNET, Air Technical Industries, ABB, SKF, Lincoln Electric, Ohio Extension Partnership and MTD.
Coordinating activities across the country on a special day is great; however, corporations don’t need a national day in order to get involved in local education activities. Business Roundtable notes, “To create and sustain a thriving economy for all Americans, leading businesses know they must play a role in preparing the coming generations with critical skills and knowledge. After all, today’s students are tomorrow’s employees, thinkers, leaders, doers and innovators. … As education and workforce demands evolve for the 21st century economy, business leaders have a responsibility to help ensure the U.S. education system fulfills the needs of current and future students — those who will be employees and innovators of the 21st century. Our country’s business and education sectors must work together to prepare students in all subjects, especially science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).” The organization goes on to note, “Business Roundtable member companies recognize the challenge and are stepping up to assist, partnering with classrooms and after-school programs across the country to provide resources, employee volunteers and guidance on curriculum, all with the goal of equipping today’s students with the skills to become tomorrow’s innovators.”
The website discusses member company community education interaction programs. Companies whose activities are profiled include: Oracle, Boeing, John Deere, Novelis, Apple, Bechtel, United Technologies, General Motors, IBM, Stanley Black & Decker, Accenture, Alcoa, Ameriprise, AT&T, BP, CF Industries, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Dell Technologies, Duke Energy, Eastman, ExxonMobil, KPMG, EY, FIS, Freeport-McMoran, Guardian, Harris Corporation, The Home Depot, International Paper Company, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Marathon Oil, Marriott, Micron, New York Life, Northrup Grumman, Pfizer, Pitney Bowes, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, State Farm, Lockheed Martine, TC Energy, Texas Instruments, TSYS, Union Pacific, United Airlines, UPS, Vistra Energy, World Wide Technologies, Hearst, Turner Construction, Best Buy, Cummins, Raytheon, American Airlines, American Electric Power, Ball Corporation, Wesco, and Wipro.
You don’t have to be a large company in order to get involved in STEM education efforts in your local area. Several years ago, I, along with a few colleagues, organized a non-profit organization called The Project for STEM Competitiveness. Our efforts have been supported by local business leaders and scientists. In addition to my company, Enterra Solutions®, supporting organizations include Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Manufacturing Day is a good way to start getting involved. The non-profit CMTC notes, “National Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.”
 Staff, “Host an Event,” The Manufacturing Institute, 2019.
 Staff, “IndustryWeek Plants Seeds of Change on Manufacturing Day,” IndustryWeek, 13 September 2019.
 Staff, “Preparing Tomorrow’s Innovators,” Business Roundtable, 2019.
 Staff, “Manufacturing Month – CA,” CMTC, 2019.