'Cool Robots' and Career Opportunities
Record Breaking Number of Newaygo County Students Explore Careers in Manufacturing
The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership (NCEDP) announced today, the culmination of their 2022 Discover Manufacturing initiative.
Discover Manufacturing, part of the national MFG DAY initiative, is a coordinated, regional effort designed to celebrate manufacturing, address common misconceptions, and highlight local career opportunities for students. 2022 marks the sixth year of Discover Manufacturing in Newaygo County, and NCEDP leadership is excited to share the record breaking results. Over 580 students from six schools in Newaygo County took part in tours of local manufacturers.
Julie Burrell, NECDP Economic Development Director shared “The work we’ve put in over the past several years truly paid off in 2022. Educators and employers are trusting us to provide a thoughtful framework to highlight solutions for issues that both sides face in regard to talent attraction and career advancement after graduation”.
In collaboration with regional economic development organizations, The Right Place facilitated grant funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership received $3,076, which was used to cover transportation costs and purchase incentive items for students.
Grant Middle and High Schools and Newaygo Middle School participated for the first time in 2022. Newaygo County Career Tech Center, Hesperia Middle School and White Cloud Junior High School continued their long-standing participation.
When asked why participation has been a priority for White Cloud Junior High School, Counselor Melissa Bedell said “We want to provide opportunities for our students to explore careers in our community. It is so great to see the different career pathway options such as marketing and technology within the manufacturing businesses represented on the tours”.
Discover Manufacturing provides an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between employers and educators, addressing the skilled labor shortage and improving the confidence in the local talent pipeline. Riveridge Cider, G-M Wood Products, Quality Finishing Systems, HarbisonWalker International, the Fremont Generate Digester and Magna Mirrors all committed to hosting tours this year.
“Coming from a rural community, it may be difficult to imagine your town playing a role on a national scale,” said Trish Taylor, Riveridge Cider marketing manager. “By doing Discover Manufacturing tours with students, we were able to show them all the apple trees they see make us unique and those apples end up in cider that goes to all 50 states. Newaygo County may be small but it is a big deal in Michigan agriculture!”
Going beyond a simple tour, several employers utilized real life stories to convey the magnitude of opportunities that exist. Jeremiah Ebenstein, Human Resources Manager at G-M Wood Products, shared his experience of starting out in production and working his way up to management. Tyler Huntley, Plant Manager, highlighted several facets of the great work environment at G-M Wood Products, adding “Plus, we have cool robots!”
G-M Wood Products Vice President Kevin Karrip went on to say “G-M Wood Products was very excited to participate in Discover Manufacturing. Our hope in hosting these young people at our facilities was to show them that there is a bright and exciting future right here in Newaygo County. Manufacturing offers many different opportunities in trades and technologies.”
Discover Manufacturing is conducted annually in October and November. To learn more, contact Julie Burrell at firstname.lastname@example.org
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