In recent years, a swing in public perception has led to widely held misconceptions of United States manufacturing – that modern manufacturing environments are dark, dangerous and antiquated factories designed for low-skilled workers. On Manufacturing Day (MFG DAY) 2015, this Friday, manufacturers all across the U.S. will open their doors in a coordinated effort to correct this public perception by showcasing modern manufacturing as it really is today: technologically advanced, using sophisticated automation, robots and 3-D printing, and employed by highly trained professionals.
MFG DAY is an annual event that sees manufacturers across the nation host open houses, public factory tours, career workshops and other events. On the first Friday each October, manufacturers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico are joined by community and technical colleges that host similar events to showcase facilities and course offerings that lead to fulfilling, in-demand manufacturing careers. Last year, more than 1,675 MFG DAY events attracted nearly 400,000 participants.
The purpose of MFG DAY is to demonstrate to the public the potential of modern manufacturing and to foster interest in manufacturing careers.
American manufacturing consistently proves itself to be a vital part of the nation’s economy. In the U.S., manufacturers produce $2.1 trillion of value each year, or 12.5 percent of U.S. GDP, and directly employ more than 12 million workers, or 8.8 percent of total U.S. employment. In fact, for every dollar spent on manufacturing, another $1.37 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.
While a strong manufacturing industry is fundamental to the U.S. economy and job growth, manufacturing generally remains a less popular career choice than other industries.
A series of studies conducted over the past six years by The Manufacturing Institute (MI) and Deloitte consistently reveals that while Americans consider manufacturing one of the most important domestic industries for ensuring a strong national economy, they rank it low as a career choice for themselves. In addition, only 37 percent of respondents in the most recent MI-Deloitte study (2015) indicated they would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.
However, the findings also indicate that industry familiarity increases positive perception. Those with high industry familiarity tend to have more favorable views toward manufacturing and are twice as likely to encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.
The key takeaway of the MI-Deloitte findings is that manufacturers must engage the public through community and educational programs to improve the perception of the U.S. manufacturing industry and create a supply of workers with competitive manufacturing skills – engineering, skilled trades and production.
Executed at the local level, MFG DAY gives individual manufacturers an opportunity to amplify their voice and deliver a coordinated message about modern manufacturing by opening their doors to show visitors what they do and how they do it. Through this collective effort, MFG DAY draws public attention to manufacturing’s present-day reality and encourages job seekers to develop the skills they need to qualify for long-term careers in this important sector of the economy.
In observance of Manufacturing Day, explore a variety of interesting figures about the importance of U.S. manufacturing and its workforce in the infographic below.
MFG DAY is organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI) and the National Institute of Standards & Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).