Manufacturing Day was a nationwide initiative designed to expand the knowledge about and improve general public perception of manufacturing careers and manufacturing’s value to the U.S. economy. October 5, 2012, JSCC in collaboration with The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services and the Department of Economic and Community Development did just that.
More than 50 high school “influencers”, including; principals, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, and board members for area school systems. Professors, recruiters, representatives and students from local colleges were also present.
They met in Ayers Auditorium located in the McWherter Building, and heard presentations from JSCC President Bruce Blanding, Dean Terri Messer, and Director Jack Laser. They presented statistics and information about manufacturing today. According to Dr. Blanding, “about 17 percent of the workforce in Tennessee is in manufacturing, and of that, 30 percent is in West Tennessee”. Dean Messer goes on to say that, “About 24 percent of West Tennessee workforce, outside Shelby County, works in more than 600 companies”.
The presentations concluded, and participants boarded vans provided by SWHRA and toured three of the local manufacturing plants; TBDN, Delta, and Pinnacle Foods. Companies provided tour guides that helped individuals understand what really goes on in today’s plants, what skill sets are needed to get into a manufacturing field, and how to better equip the youth for these positions.
They were able to see the amount of technology, automation, and critical thinking skills necessary to effective and produce their products. One guidance counselor commented that, “It allowed me to gain a visual insight on what actually takes place”. The event was largely considered a success, and participants went away with a better understanding of manufacturing today and a new comfort level in advising and assisting youth interested in manufacturing.