Today is National Manufacturing Day, but we'll be highlighting the importance of manufacturing with multiple events across the state throughout the month.
For starters, National Manufacturing Day celebrates what is made in America as well as the hardworking men and women who are the backbone of any manufacturer. Today also is a day to increase awareness of what manufacturing is -- highly technical, highly skilled work — and what it is not — dirty, dank conditions with heavy labor performed by a male-preferred workforce.
Equally as important on this day is sending the message to our young folks that there is hope for good-paying jobs with upward mobility and attainable via multiple academic paths in West Virginia. The West Virginia Manufacturers Association Educational Fund (WVMAEF), in celebration of this month, kicked off the first Explore the New Manufacturing Academy for the 2018-2019 academic year Wednesday in Wheeling at West Virginia Northern Community College (WVNCC). Approximately 100 students from the area participated. Eagle Manufacturing, Mull Group Inc., Warwood Tool and Ziegenfelder partnered with the WVMAEF to host Explore labs. The students capped off their day with tours of WVNCC's Applied Technology Center and Industrial Technology Center facilities. It was wonderful to watch the students engage and learn. Post-survey results demonstrate a definitive increase in awareness about the career possibilities in manufacturing.
The next Explore Academy will be held at Blue Ridge Community College in Martinsburg on Oct. 12. Partnering with the WVMAEF to host the labs are Argos, Proctor & Gamble, Quad Graphics, and Technimark. Although the WVMAEF kicked off its first academy in celebration of National Manufacturing Day, the messaging to West Virginia's youth will be year-round through presentations and academies.