MFG Day message: “An entry-level job today could be a plant manager tomorrow”

In Williamston, Mich., blow molding machine maker Bekum America invited high school students for presentations and tours Oct. 7 of the recently expanded, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which features a apprenticeship training. Staff want to show off cutting-edge technologies like automation, 3D printing and robots and will point out that manufacturers have high job retention rates in the private sector, with 90% of workers having medical benefits.

Founded in 1979, Bekum America builds the machines that produce plastic bottles, containers and other large plastic parts.

Approximately 50% of Bekum’s workforce has graduated from the apprenticeship program or is currently enrolled in the program. Apprentices must complete 8,000 hours of training and approximately 60 hours of paid-for community college tuition credit while they work toward an associate’s degree.

“Bekum wants to give every student interested in the plastics manufacturing industry the opportunity to explore and learn,” said Steven London, president and chief operating officer of Bekum America, in a Press release.

Accede Mold & Tool, based in Rochester, NY, is also trying to show young people that American manufacturing can be financially and personally rewarding with chances to further their education and start their careers on the right foot.

“You’ll experience a positive work environment fostered by top-notch machinery and continued investment in new technology and equipment,” the company says in its online call for attendees.

Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing Ltd. in Windsor, Ontario hosted a webinar on October 5 and tours on October 7. outings, family events and charitable support from the community.

Minco Tool and Mold Inc. in Dayton, Ohio, has attended every MFG Day since the event launched in 2012. Filling positions is especially difficult these days, according to Karen Brush, sales and apprenticeship coordinator.

“It’s hard to find someone right now either with experience or interested in doing an apprenticeship,” Brush said.

She pointed to two major obstacles: a lack of young people looking for a skilled career or potential employees looking for better wages in an entry-level position.

In Wallace, Michigan, Advanced Blending Solutions, a designer and manufacturer of handling, mixing and control systems for the plastics industry, held its first MFG Day event on September 22.

The company wanted to draw attention to job openings in a tight labor market in the state’s Upper Peninsula. Staff offered tours, demonstrations and on-site interviews to anyone interested in attending.

“Our biggest hurdle is that our unemployment rate is very low in the area due to a large manufacturing base in our community,” chief marketing officer Chloe Linsmeier said in an email.

ABS is one of the largest regional manufacturers with 150 employees serving major companies in the carpet, food service, barrier film and medical film markets.

“Opportunities surround us, and even in our small community, we’re producing at scale,” Linsmeier said.

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