Manufacturing Day reminds students of manufacturing’s promise

Though events were somewhat muted due to the ongoing pandemic, some area manufacturers opened their doors Friday — virtually or physically — to observe a day typically devoted to reminding students that manufacturing is not only necessary but can be great jobs.

Jobs that keep coming, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said in a visit to Wurth Electronics-ICS Inc., a producer of printed electronic circuit boards with 40 employees in Miamisburg and room for more.

Husted said Ohio leaders are seeing companies rethink global supply chains as shipping costs escalate and certain parts become scarce. Some are on-shoring or re-shoring manufacturing work.

“Ohio is the go-to state for the Midwest now,” he said. “We’re an affordable place, low taxes, high quality of life, a big workforce — without the burdens of a lot of places where it’s really become too expensive to do business.”

Local school participation numbers were down a bit this year compared to the pre-pandemic era. Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association, said several DRMA members planned events Friday, six in-person events and a pair of virtual sessions.

In all, 10 schools planned visits Friday, with about 200 expected students, Erbaugh said. And other events are scheduled later in October, involving about 50 students, she said.

FC Industries and Chemineer in Dayton registered events with the National Association of Manufacturers, the only two local events registered by the national organization.

Students from the Ohio-Hi Point Career Center and Lima Senior High School joined Honda’s Anna engine plant in a virtual event, the automaker said.

In its event, Honda’s Jessica Plessinger, from the automaker’s die cast department in Anna, said she got her first job with Honda while attending Edison State Community College in Piqua. Robots are part of the environment in her department, leaving employees free to focus on quality control and “more ergonomically correct jobs,” she said.

“I absolutely love my job here,” Plessinger told listening students.

Honda doesn’t expect new employees to walk in as experts on their jobs, another Honda employee said. The automaker is willing to train and teach.

“If you show that you are trainable, the options are endless,” said Derek Gaerke, a Honda technician.

Honda has more than 13,000 Ohio employees.

In the last pre-pandemic Manufacturing Day, in October 2019, some 275,000 people participated in about 3,000 “MFG Day” events across North America. Some 50 Dayton employers participated that year, along with nearly 220 Ohio companies.

Dayton was an early supporter of the Manufacturing Day concept.

In the first national Manufacturing Day observed in Dayton, in 2012, there were 10 company open houses attended by 150 students — which Erbaugh called “a small first go.”

But that “small first go” got bigger quickly.

By 2017, the Dayton-area had 64 open houses attended by more than 3,600 area students from 60 schools and 10 home-school groups.

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