Nestled among myriad “national days” is National Manufacturing Day℠, which is celebrated on the first Friday in October. According to the National Day Calendar website, “[National Manufacturing Day is set aside to] celebrate those who proudly stand behind our goods and services made in America.” This year marks the eighth time Manufacturing Day has been celebrated. Unlike many national days that pass largely unnoticed, National Manufacturing Day normally draws the attention of many large manufacturers. The official website for Manufacturing Day notes, “MFG Day helps show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders. MFG Day empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive. MFG Day is an initiative of The Manufacturing Institute, with the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association as a founding partner.”
The website adds, “The [Manufacturing] Institute grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The Institute’s diverse initiatives support women, veterans, students and workers through skills training programs, community building and supporting the advancement of their career in manufacturing. As the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Institute is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with resources necessary to solve the industry’s toughest challenges.” The staff at the Manufacturing Institute note, “This year, MFG Day also includes a strong emphasis on engaging digital and virtual events throughout the country. With manufacturing careers at the heart of some of the most impactful work being done in response to the pandemic we are excited to shine a spotlight on manufacturing careers.” The following video provides a brief introduction to Manufacturing Day.
If you work for a manufacturer that doesn’t already host a Manufacturing Day event, you can encourage your company to participate next year. The requirements for hosting an event are fairly simple:
- Your sponsored 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); school event about manufacturing; manufacturing-related jobs fair; manufacturing-related career day event; or manufacturing product expo or similar event.
- Your event must be open to students, parents and/or educators.
You can learn more by clicking on this link.
Kevin Kerrigan, vice president of business development at LIFT, suggests manufacturers should also look inward on Manufacturing Day. He explains, “The event skews young, but it’s a time to open the doors to older workers, too — veterans, the underemployed and unemployed, and people looking to change careers.” He adds, “Traditionally seen as an opportunity for middle and high school students to visit and meet with manufacturers to peek behind the curtain and see what 21st-century industry careers are all about, this event has taken on added significance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many adults seeking new hope and opportunities alongside their younger counterparts.”
Kerrigan believes Manufacturing Day is an opportunity to shed light on how modern manufacturing works. He explains, “Manufacturing, normally layered in trade secrets and safety codes, is often closed off from the public, allowing old black-and-white images to dominate the American psyche of what strange magic actually goes on behind those closed factory doors. As an industry, it is in our best interest to quell the imagination and reveal the gleaming reality of current opportunities in manufacturing — most of which have moved from the hammer-and-anvil variety to that of a mouse and keyboard. … It is critical that students and incumbent, unemployed and underemployed adults enter advanced manufacturing fields to ensure a robust and healthy talent pipeline moving forward and take advantage of millions of jobs becoming available in the manufacturing sector over the next decade.”
The pandemic, which has put some 26 million people still out of work, will eventually end. When it does, millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs will once again open up. If you are looking for work, you might look around today to see if Manufacturing Day events might be available for you to attend, either in person or virtually.
 Staff, “About MFG Day,” Creators Wanted, 2020.
 Staff, “Manufacturing Day,” The Manufacturing Institute, 2020.
 Kevin Kerrigan, “Bringing Lifelong Learners into the Fold on Manufacturing Day,” IndustryWeek, 1 October 2020.