(Caption: State officials celebrated National Manufacturing Day in 2013 at Crane Stationary in North Adams.)
by Marty Jones
If Halloween isn’t your style of celebration, there are plenty of other holidays throughout October. You can reminisce about the contents of childhood sandwiches on National Bologna Day, step away from the computer on Information Overload Day, and bestow a personality on your beloved vehicle on National Name Your Car Day. Or, you can reserve October 3 on your calendar and join hundreds around the Commonwealth to celebrate National Manufacturing Day, a holiday that is less Mad Hatter and more nuts-and-bolts, with a real economic impact for Massachusetts.
Manufacturing is the one of the largest sectors in Massachusetts, with more than 7,500 companies employing 250,000 workers. For reasons such as the recession and outdated, negative perceptions of manufacturing, this industry is often overlooked by young people and their adult influencers. That lack of awareness means that while manufacturers will need to hire up to 100,000 new workers in the next 10 years as current employees retire, today’s students aren’t prepared with the highly technical math, computing, and engineering skills required to fill the openings. These jobs pay well – an average salary of $75,000 They’re also exciting, cutting-edge career options for people looking to play an active role in creating some of the world’s most interesting products, from smartphones to wind turbines and life-saving drugs.
National Manufacturing Day, which in Massachusetts is part of Advanced Manufacturing Week, can help to banish these cobwebbed perceptions of the industry and highlight the bright future in manufacturing careers. To encourage schools and manufacturers to collaborate, MassDevelopment is celebrating October 3 by launching a contest through AMP it up!, our campaign to promote advanced manufacturing as a viable and attractive career path (stay tuned that day for more details). AMP it up! matching-grant recipients are also hosting events around the state, so check out an open house, tour, or speaking program near you.
MassDevelopment manages the redevelopment of Devens, a 4,400-acre community in north-central Massachusetts that has a high concentration of advanced manufacturing companies. To showcase the opportunities and work of those companies, we’re holding a mini manufacturing trade show with businesses such as Vitasoy, Eglomise Designs, FIBA Technologies, and Laddawn. Students, teachers, guidance counselors, and all those interested in manufacturing in Massachusetts are welcome to attend.
So, on October 3, grab your bologna sandwich, clear your mind, and drive Pamela the Prius to one of the Commonwealth’s many manufacturing companies. You’ll find a lot worth celebrating.
Marty Jones is President and CEO of MassDevelopment.