“US manufacturing may be poised for an overhaul and a rebound,” according to analysts from McKinsey & Company, “with a potentially significant impact on the nation’s overall economy.” They go on to note that, even without a rebound, manufacturing already makes an impact on the economy. “In the United States,” they explain, “manufacturing accounts for $2.3 trillion in GDP, employs 12 million people, and supports hundreds of local economies. Although that represents just 11 percent of US GDP and 8 percent of direct employment, the sector makes a disproportionate economic contribution, including 20 percent of the nation’s capital investment, 35 percent of productivity growth, 60 percent of exports, and 70 percent of business R&D spending.” Recent geopolitical events and supply chains snarls have focused a bright light on the importance of domestic manufacturing. So it is entirely appropriate to recognize the sector with its own national day. The staff at National Today explains, “Every year, America’s manufacturing sector opens its doors to celebrate Manufacturing Day on the first Friday of October. … For those interested in making things with mind and machines, it is a day that begins a month of inspirational experiences. This year also, America’s manufacturing sector is gearing up to celebrate the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the United States’ economic power.”
History of Manufacturing Day
National Days are not federal holidays. They are self-designated days set aside to recognize the contributions of various economic sectors, products, cultures, and so forth. Manufacturing Day was the 2011 brainchild of the Fabricators and Manufacturers’ Association (FMA) of the United States. According the National Today staff, “[The FMA wanted to make] the manufacturing sector more accessible to the general public, especially America’s students, their parents, and the policymakers, by opening its doors through events, exhibitions, and so forth. The key members in the association believed that it would enable people to understand more about modern manufacturing and appreciate its value for modern living. The FMA organized the first-ever Manufacturing Day in October 2012 to serve as a starting point for over 200 events to be conducted in the Midwest during that month. It was a successful initiative and received active participation and appreciation from high school students, educators, parents, and other community members. In the subsequent years, the concept became popular, with thousands of people participating in events across the country.” Today, Manufacturing Day is an initiative of The Manufacturing Institute, with the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association as a founding partner. Other organizations supporting the effort include the National Association of Manufacturers, MEP Centers, and federal agency partners in the Manufacturing USA network.
Although it’s called Manufacturing Day, the “Day” is really the launch of a series of monthlong events that include job fairs, exhibitions, shop floor walkthroughs, seminars, and so forth., for students, educators, parents, community influencers, and job seekers. The Manufacturing Institute notes manufacturers are looking to fill 4 million high-skill, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade. The Institute believes Manufacturing Day “empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.” The National Today staff adds, “National Manufacturing Day has caught the imagination of America’s tech and machine learners, who now throng to the over 2,000 events organized every year throughout October. Over 14,000 manufacturers across America now participate in country-wide celebrations. For those interested in technology, including bioengineers, machine technicians, data analysts, and robotic machinists, this day marks the beginning of a series of magical experiences that unfold throughout the month.”
Join the Fun
The Manufacturing Institute notes, “Manufacturing is at the heart of some of the most impactful work done in response to the pandemic and we are excited to shine a spotlight on manufacturing careers.” If your company wants the kind of positive exposure offered by Manufacturing Day, the Institute urges you to join in on the fun. The MI staff writes, “It’s time to put your MFG Day event on the map, so students, teachers, parents and community leaders can learn about opportunities in their communities to explore careers in modern manufacturing and see how creators are making the future in the United States. Our national registry of MFG Day events is the official resource for MFG Day activities across the country. Let’s show what manufacturers are doing to open doors of opportunity to more students and more people.” To register your event, click on this link. If you are not sure how to get started, the Institute has resources to help:
If you are not a manufacturer, but fall into one of the groups noted above (i.e., student, educator, parent, community influencer, or job seeker), the Institute also urges you to get involved. After all, the events are being staged for your benefit. Journalist Adrienne Selko (@ASelkoIW) reports, “Studies have shown that the more students and parents know about the inner workings of the field, the more they consider it a career choice.”
If you don’t think your manufacturing process is worth explaining or think that students would be interested in seeing it, consider the fact that the television series “How It’s Made” has been fascinating people for over two decades. Journalist John Jurgensen (@johnjurg) called the show, “TV’s quietest hit.” He reports, “The show airs in 45 languages and 222 countries.” The MI staff concludes, “MFG Day is manufacturing’s biggest annual opportunity to inspire the next generation, positively shift perceptions about our industry, and build the foundation for the manufacturing workforce of the future.”
 Tyler Carr, Eric Chewning, Mike Doheny, Anu Madgavkar, Asutosh Padhi, and Andrew Tingley, “Delivering the US manufacturing renaissance,” McKinsey & Company, 29 August 2022.
 Staff, “Manufacturing Day 2022,” National Today, 2022.
 Staff, “Manufacturing Day,” The Manufacturing Institute, 2022.
 Adrienne Selko, “Mfg. Day 2019: Showing Future Workers What We’re Made Of,” IndustryWeek, 4 October 2019.
 John Jurgensen, “‘How It’s Made’: TV’s Quietest Hit,” The Wall Street Journal, 18 December 2014.