CHICAGO—Manufacturers around the United States recently hosted open houses as part of National Manufacturing Day. The seventh annual event allowed students to get an inside look at how products are designed and built. It also outlined career opportunities and encouraged kids to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering.

Large and small manufacturers in a wide variety of industries participated in the event, which is always held on the first Friday in October.

Cooper Standard Automotive Inc., a Tier One supplier of parts such as rubber and plastic sealing, fuel and brake lines, fluid transfer hoses and anti-vibration systems, was one company that participated. Events at the company’s 15 North American facilities included career discussions, interactive presentations and plant floor tours.

“In the 21st century, manufacturing careers can be high-tech, interesting and rewarding, and are a crucial contributor to our national economy,” says Jeffrey Edwards, chairman and CEO of Cooper Standard. “As a global automotive supplier, Cooper Standard has committed itself to engaging and fostering this next-generation workforce. Manufacturing Day is a great way to help that cause, as it introduces students to the tremendous potential that manufacturing jobs have to offer.”

Another company participating in the 2018 National Manufacturing Day was CNH Industrial, a leading producer of agricultural implements, buses, construction equipment, tractors and trucks.

“CNH Industrial is proud to be part of the Manufacturing Day celebration and contribute to a changing perception of this important industry,” says Bill Baasch, vice president of North American manufacturing at CNH Industrial. “[Each of our] manufacturing plants in the United States observed Manufacturing Day in different ways. [They involved] leadership, employees and the community to clearly demonstrate the diverse facets of modern manufacturing.

“Our employees are passionate about manufacturing, and supporting events such as Manufacturing Day is a great way to get the message out to the communities where we live and work,” adds Baasch. “This is a great place to build a career, and CNH Industrial is proud to be part of the future of manufacturing.”

CNH Industrial’s Case IH and Case Construction Equipment plant in Fargo, ND, collaborated with the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Group and invited local high school students on a plant tour of the facility that assembles four-wheel-drive tractors and wheel loaders.

“We are excited to give area students the opportunity to see our operations,” says Adi Garg, plant manager at CNH Industrial Fargo. “It plants the seed early about advanced manufacturing, technology and the skills needed to work in our [facility].”

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood visited CNH Industrial’s Case IH plant in Goodfield, IL, to mark Manufacturing Day. He received a plant tour and met with employees at the facility, which produces tillage and fertilizer equipment.

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Baltimore operations welcomed local students from Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and North County High School.

Led by Northrop Grumman employees, students created Rube Goldberg machines designed with basic household items. Students were given a kit of materials including PVC piping, duct tape, dominos, marbles and magnets and were challenged to create a solution to flip a light switch and illuminate an LED light.

“Projects like this help simulate an environment that our manufacturing employees and engineers work in every day,” says Jenna Paukstis, director of Baltimore manufacturing at Northrop Grumman. “We work in teams, often with limited resources and a tight deadline.

“To achieve our goals, we need to draw upon creativity and overcome challenges along the way,” notes Paukstis. “These are all skills that we want to foster in students who will be the next manufacturing employees at Northrop Grumman.”

“Today’s manufacturing is highly advanced and requires skilled, creative and STEM-literate workers to make some of the most relied upon products in the world,” adds Melissa Sandlin, manager or corporate citizenship at Northrop Grumman. “Through events like this, we are investing in our future workforce and introducing students to some of the diverse manufacturing career paths they can follow.”