This month, thousands of manufacturers, colleges and HVAC construction trade schools across the country will celebrate Manufacturing Day by opening their doors and inviting young people to experience modern manufacturing.

The annual national event, executed at the local level, is designed to dispel the prevalent misconceptions about the industry and also address the serious skilled labor gap that now exists.

It is estimated that nearly 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to manufacturers’ inability to find talent with the required skills. Numerous manufacturing jobs will be available for those with the desired talents.

The fourth annual Manufacturing Day, which takes place this year Oct. 2, is designed to show a new generation of young people how today’s manufacturing is all about advanced technologies, updated facilities and fast-paced work environments. It’s also an opportunity to show parents the kind of work that takes place in manufacturing plants, such as those used in HVAC construction.

Students, teachers, parents and job seekers can see for themselves that manufacturing provides clean, safe, high-tech environments in which to pursue challenging, creative, well-paid careers. By participating, we anticipate more young people will want to follow a manufacturing career path.

Take Chris Monzyk, for example. He was a student at Ozarks Technical College in Springfield, Missouri, in 2013 when he was part of a Manufacturing Day tour at Detroit Tool & Engineering in Lebanon, Missouri.  Intrigued by what he saw and identified by the company as a potential recruit, Monzyk was offered an opportunity to join the company.

Today, he proudly works as a machinist in the 109-person company that builds tools, dies and custom automation systems.

“I like to work with my hands,” Monzyk said. “It sounds cliché, but working at DTE is fun, exciting and new every day. I get to make something from virtually nothing.”

And then there is Micah Rider who, as a high school student in 2013, took a Manufacturing Day tour arranged through Wichita Area Technical College in Wichita, Kansas. By 2014 he had graduated and was enrolled at WATC and was leading one of its facility tours on Manufacturing Day. 

Rider is excited about his pursuit of a manufacturing career and getting other kids to follow in his path.

“I ask kids, ‘What do you like to do? Do you like to play with Legos? Have you ever thought about building stuff’?” he said.

Manufacturers who open their doors for Manufacturing Day 2015 are not only educating their communities about career opportunities, they also may discover a new employee or two.

By re-engaging local communities to showcase their manufacturing sector and demonstrate the contribution that manufacturing makes to the local economy, we can ensure a better future and way of life for our children and grandchildren. Our future depends on our ability to strengthen and advance this vital sector of our nation’s economy.

 To learn more about Manufacturing Day, visit www.mfgday.com