National Manufacturing Day Events Continued Throughout Northeast Michigan
While Manufacturing Day was October 5th, student events continued throughout October and into November. Manufacturing Day allows manufacturers to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.
Students had already toured local companies during the first half of October, including: ESI, Besser, Ossineke Industries, Metalfab Manufacturing, AMI, IMM, Air Way Automation, CSI Emergency Apparatus, Cooper Standard, and TubeFab Roman Engineering. During the second half of October additional tours continued (see below).
Talent Tours, such as these surrounding Manufacturing Day, help expose students to local opportunities in in-demand careers; opportunities that students otherwise would never have known existed. With help from Michigan Works!, employers from a variety of industries, including healthcare, technology, construction, and hospitality, work throughout the year to offer Talent Tours to local students. If you’re interested in taking part in a Talent Tour, please contact your local Michigan Works! for more information (800-285-WORK).
COOPER STANDARD – Gaylord, MI
On October 16th, 30 students from Johannesburg/Lewiston High School toured the Gaylord Cooper Standard plant. Prior to the plant walk-through, the presenter explained that while a high school diploma is all that is required for most positions, some positions require additional education. Information was given to the students regarding CNC, mechatronics, welding, and fabricating training. During the tour students were led around the plant while their guide explained what different machines did. Students were even able to touch some of the different plastic and rubber components. Students enjoyed seeing how various car parts are made, commenting on the synergy between the machines and the operators. Some were surprised at the machine’s quality assurance abilities and the number of parts that can be produced in a day. Many commented that the tour was very informative and that this would be a career they would consider after high school.
COOPER STANDARD – Fairview, MI
On October 19th, 14 students from Fairview High School toured the Fairview Cooper Standard plant. The tour started with a presentation over donuts and cider. Students were given an introduction to the company and its products. Students also learned more about how the plant is staffed and what it takes to work there. After the presentation, safety gear was distributed and students split into two groups for the tour of the plant. The tour guide led students throughout the plant, point out not only what part(s) were being manufactured, but how/why the machine and the operator manufactures the part in the way that they do.
Cooper Standard mostly hires from within, starting most employees at entry-level general labor and promoting/training after a 6 month probationary period. The presenter also explained Cooper Standard’s tuition assistance program for those who would want to work the weekend shift while also going to college; it is their most popular shift. Those who are in the program pursuing a degree or certificate related to manufacturing or a position within Cooper Standard can even get tuition assistance.
MORAN IRON WORKS – Onaway, MI
On October 24 and October 29, 6 students from Onaway High School and 20 students from Wolverine High School toured Moran Iron Works and the Industrial Arts Institute. The tour started out with a video of past projects followed by a tour of the facility. Students saw grit blasting, welding, and painting areas. They even got to perform some hands-on welding. During the tour, Moran staff explained that they try hard to find the right employees for every position and that most of the supervisor staff started out as shop laborers. They are always looking to promote from within and bring out employee strengths. After the tour, one student even decided to enroll in the STEAM class their school offered. Students enjoyed the tour and seeing the welding being done, stating “I never realized the size of this place” and “I can’t believe they create things that are used all over the world.”
CADILLAC PRODUCTS – Fairview, MI
On October 25th, 42 students from Posen and Rogers City High Schools toured Cadillac Products. They learned what the company makes and learned about the processes used at the plant. Students were shown how technology is used to track issues on the manufacturing floor, including cell phone tracking. The tour included the recycle station, shipping and receiving, patent production, patented adhesive area, the heated press forms, the injection molding, and the quality lab. The tour wrapped up with a discussion on the career paths to obtain a job at Cadillac Products, including information on the classes Alpena Community College offers. Students were surprised by the size of the building and all that the company makes. Many of the Posen student’s had family that worked at the plant. Students were very engaged throughout the tour and Cadillac Products was happy with the turnout as well.
TUBEFAB ROMAN ENGINEERING – Afton, MI
On October 25th, 40 students from Rogers City and Posen High School toured the TubeFab Roman Engineering facility. The tour started with a safety presentation and an overview of the company and what they produce. Students were broken into 3 groups and led by employees of different areas of the facility. On the production floor, they were shown how parts are assembled, what a finished vs unfinished part looks like, and how the presses run. The lab tour showed the design of the parts that were sent through the CNC machine, 3D printer, and CNC router. In the quality lab students learned how technology ensures parts are manufactured to specification, and learned about the physical checks and scans that ensure no bad parts are sent out. At the end of the tour students were told about the summer internships that Tubefab offers (the last summer intern actually built the CNC table saw). One Rogers City student was interested in the possibility of interning this summer and he will talk to his teacher to learn more about the opportunity.
Students enjoyed the tour, stating “the 3D printer was awesome.” TubeFab staff felt the tours were a good experience for both the students and their staff. They were impressed with the students who were on the tour, reporting the students were very engaged and excited.
AIRWAY AUTOMATION - Grayling, MI
On October 30th, 27 Kirtland dual enrolled students attend a talent tour at Airway Automation. The tour was led by managers Gary Sheldon and Todd Bidwell.
The students were split into two groups and lead through Airway’s two manufacturing buildings where they watched robots being used for parts feeding, the water jet used to cut steel and several other machines in operations. Wrapping up the tour was a talk from both managers on lucrative careers in manufacturing and the offer to come back and interview after graduation.
Airway Automation is once again one of the favorite tour sites according to student feedback, and the staff at Airway go above and beyond to give them a great experience. The company will host another tour in November with students from Grayling High.
Manager Gary Shedon wrapping up the student tour speaking on behalf of the many great jobs and careers in manufacturing
WEYERHAEUSER - Grayling, MI
Weyerhaeuser’s Grayling OSB plant held a 90 minute student tour on October 30, 2018 with 33 students; 27 were from Kirtland’s dual enrolled program and 6 were from Grayling High School. The following Weyerhaeuser employees participated in the tour: Rina Bethany- Mill Manager, Jason Petty- Safety Manager, Adam Delwiche - Technical Team Leader, Kerry Murphy - Technical Manager, Mike Clark - Engineering Manager, Dan Murphy - Operations Function Leader, Jessica Mika – Human Resources.
The day began with a virtual tour, and a short demonstration of the safety items needed to be worn during the tour. Students were divided into four groups and led around the plant. Staff was pleased with the questions and conversations the students were engaged in. HR manager Jessica Mika shared with Michigan Works, “I am so glad you were able to come into our facility today and bring in such a great group of students. I look forwarding to hosting more tours, maybe next time we should plan for two hours though.”
The instructors enjoyed the tour and see the company as a good fit for future tours.