PREBLE COUNTY — The fifth annual Preble County Manufacturing Days was held for all five school districts in Preble County last week. Hosted by the Preble County Development Partnership, the three-day event took place from Wednesday, Nov. 15 through Friday, Nov. 17 and brought the five different senior classes into several of the major area manufacturing facilities.
While all five school districts got to experience Manufacturing Days, not every school went to every factory. Eaton High School seniors got to visit Dow Chemical Company and Timken Steel. Twin Valley South went to Pratt Lewisburg Corrugator and Bullen Ultrasonics. Preble Shawnee visited Henny Penny and Silfex. Both National Trail and Tri-County North visited Silfex and Pratt Lewisburg Corrugator.
Every student was required to take a survey at each manufacturing facility and box lunches were provided at Eagles Point Gymnasium.
According to Preble County Development Partnership Executive Director Brenda Latanza, the event is a nationwide career-readiness event. The activity originally began in Preble County as a way to get high school students into the county’s manufacturers. The PC Development Partnership wanted to spread awareness of the many manufacturers who call Preble County home.
“Manufacturers across Preble County, the Dayton Region, and throughout the entire country, hold open houses designed to showcase manufacturing in action and to highlight manufacturing’s vital role in regional and national economies. The National Manufacturing Day occurs on the first Friday in October. In Preble County, we hold it the week prior to Thanksgiving,” she explained.
“For the event, high school seniors are taken to the first manufacturing location for an informative tour, not only of the manufacturing floor, but also into other offices of the facility. They are exposed to different occupations such as accounting, HR, management, etc. This year they left the manufacturing facility to Eagle’s Point where they broke into two groups. One ate lunch for 30 minutes while the other heard a presentation from OhioMeansJobs Preble County. Then they would switch.”
Latanza added, when the event first began in Preble County, it was the sophomore classes involved in the tours, but as the job demand expanded it became necessary to have the more immediate emerging workforce involved. She explained, this event gives students an opportunity to network and meet with the very facilities who could employ them once graduation comes.
“There have already been several students hired upon graduation or even shortly prior to school’s end,” she added. “There are many students who are prepared to go to college, while others are seeking employment as soon as they graduate. Manufacturing enables our everyday lives, drives our economy, and offers many different rewarding careers.
“Many of these companies offer tuition reimbursement if the employee is interested in furthering their education. This allows the individual to not be burdened by student loans. Manufacturing is all about skills. Depending on what sort of manufacturing career you’re interested in, the skills you’ll need can be acquired with a two or four-year degree or an industry certification of some sort with many often earned within two years or even less.
“Manufacturing Days gives the students a chance to see that manufacturing is more than the assembly line. There are many opportunities — engineering, IT, sales and marketing, HR, for instance. This even may be the only way they get that ‘true first impression’ of manufacturing and learning what it is all about. Many of the surveys show that there is interest in working at these locations after they get out of school.”
Manufacturing Day is a group effort in Preble County. According to Latanza, the day would not have been a success without all five high school principals, a couple of superintendents, the entire county’s 12th grade class, TimkenSteel, Dow, Bullen Ultrasonics, Henny Penny, Pratt Lewisburg Corrugator, Silfex, the county’s economic development and chamber directors, OhioMeansJobs Preble County, Eaton’s City Manager, Sinclair and MVCTC, and other community leaders.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 at 937-683-4061