Manufacturing Day 2023 takes place October 6 as a day to celebrate the manufacturing industry. Not only is the intent to honor the industry and those working in it, but also encourage more people to enter the sector. It is an initiative of The Manufacturing Institute, a workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers.
A number of events are typically held on this day, and during the week leading up to it, to highlight the industry and its importance to the economy. Many manufacturers allow the communities in which they are located to visit their facilities to see first-hand how they operate. This can be a particularly informative experience for younger generations who may have an interest in entering the manufacturing industry in some capacity.
As we all continue to hear, the manufacturing industry is facing a critical shortage of skilled workers which will continue to be an issue if we cannot get more people to enter it. Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) and other similar events are an important tool to helping overcome this workforce challenge.
Given the importance of fluid power to the manufacturing industry – and the number of hydraulics and pneumatics manufacturers themselves facing this challenge – the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) and other industry organizations are supportive of Manufacturing Day.
"NFPA member companies report that workforce development is ranked among our industry’s biggest challenges," said Eric Lanke, NFPA President and CEO, in a piece from the association about the importance of Manufacturing Day. "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."
The NFPA itself hosts various activities to help encourage younger generations to enter the fluid power and manufacturing industries, such as the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge where university students build a bicycle-based vehicle utilizing hydraulics and pneumatics. For many, these activities are students' first exposure to fluid power and provides hands-on experience with the technology.
How to Have a Successful MFG Day
While manufacturers offering facility tours as a Manufacturing Day event can be a great way to spotlight the industry and attract younger generations, the NFPA points to other activities that could be beneficial as well:
- 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.
In addition, the NFPA notes some best practices provided by the Manufacturing Institute that can be followed when hosting Manufacturing Day or other similar events to help improve perceptions about careers in the sector:
- Tie careers to creativity.
- Link careers to technology and how creators produce something tangible and real.
- Show the range of entry points and paths to careers.
- Signal the demand and the rewards of manufacturing careers.
We want to hear from you!
Will your company be doing anything to celebrate Manufacturing Day 2023? If so, how will your company be doing so? What could the industry be doing to better attract younger generations to careers in fluid power and manufacturing? What helped get you interested in this field, and made you want to continue a career in it?
Let us know! Email me at [email protected] or reach out to us on social media.
Editor’s Note: Power & Motion's WISE (Workers in Science and Engineering) hub compiles our coverage of workplace issues affecting the engineering field, in addition to contributions from equity seeking groups and subject matter experts within various subdisciplines.