PREBLE COUNTY —The Preble County Economic Development Partnership hosted Manufacturing Days for students from all five Preble County schools from Wednesday, Nov. 18 through Friday, Nov. 20. The students toured several manufacturing facilities in the area.
Manufacturing is Preble County’s number one industry.
Preble County Economic Development Director Brenda Latanza spoke about the importance of manufacturing locally. “The annual wage breakdown of the top five sector industries in Preble County shows that the annual payroll in manufacturing is number one, at approximately $145 million, and second to that is trade, transportation and utilities at almost $48 Million,” she said.
Some 200 seniors from Eaton, Preble Shawnee, National Trail, Tri-County North and Twin Valley South toured Silfex, Henny Penny, Bullen Ultrasonics, Dow Chemical, Neaton Auto Products, TimkenSteel, and Pratt Lewisburg Corrugator, and the local companies had an opportunity to show their facilities to possible future employees.
Students also experienced a hands-on lab at the Sinclair Manufacturing Training Lab in Eaton, and attended a lunchtime presentation from the instructor and students of MVCTC’s RAMTEC lab.
“This gives manufacturers the opportunity to begin to address the skilled workforce shortage they face,” Latanza said of Manufacturing Days.
The day also gives students a chance to seek out alternative paths after college.
“The students learn more about the products these companies produce,” Latanza added. “They also discover what types of opportunities may be available, and what type of training or education they may need.”
According to Latanza, the days are also an opportunity for employers to speak directly to students and address any confusion about what a career in manufacturing means. “It helps address common misconceptions about manufacturing by giving some of our local manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and showcase, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is and what it isn’t.”
“Manufacturing is about skills and the highest combined salaries and benefits of any industry in the U.S.,” Latanza said.
She added, “This is an effective way to feature the importance of manufacturing in our economy and to draw attention to the many rewarding, high-skilled manufacturing jobs locally.”
After completing the days, students filled out an evaluation which asked them to rate several questions regarding the activity, including whether students felt more inclined to look at manufacturing as a career and whether or not students felt manufacturing is “better” than what they originally believed.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-693-4062 or on Twitter@aschmidt_RH.