The local high school is right down the road from Superior Aluminum Products, but most of the inhabitants have no idea what goes on in their own backyard...it is time to change that!
For the third straight year, Sophomore students at local Russia High School toured Superior Aluminum Products on national Manufacturing Day. This event is held each year on the first Friday in October across the country…. if you are a manufacturer you should host an event! For the local youth, Manufacturing Day allows an opportunity to open the doors of a building they have been seeing their entire life but have no idea what takes place inside. Today, we will take an abbreviated version of this journey and look at the huge opportunities the students discovered were available in their hometown.
To start the day off, local business leaders gave a manufacturing industry presentation to the students at their school, then the students were transported to the facilities for the real show.
The students started their tour in the Superior Aluminum offices where many of them were surprised to find how much goes on behind the scenes at a facility such as our own. Company President Doug Borchers walked students through the office and outlined career possibilities in accounting, customer service, sales, marketing, and engineering. The youth were amazed at the careers available in their own backyards that only seemed to exist in a big city setting.
After learning of the upfront opportunities, the local students went and checked out the backbone of Superior Aluminum: The dedicated manufacturing team. After a stop in the welding department where students were shown how a weld is made and introduced to the various assemblies that are welded, they moved over the Series 9000 Railing department. Here the students were allowed to roll up their sleeves and get to work by helping prepare spear pickets for an upcoming fence project and to twist pickets for a decorative residential assembly.
From here, it was on to the punch press to watch a full-sized stamping press with automated feed in action. After a quick stop at the column department where they built their own aluminum column out of stave pieces, it was time for some more work! Students watched and assisted as a long time Superior employee bend pipe for use in a future handrail project.
It was obvious after the shop tour concluded that the Russia Sophomores did not end up seeing what they expected. Many times, manufacturing jobs come with a negative connotation and conjure pictures of boring assembly lines and doing the same thing all day every day. These notions were shattered on Manufacturing Day as students got to see the wide array of jobs available in a manufacturing setting, both in the office and on the shop floor.
What did all of this accomplish? What was the point? Talk to any manufacturer about what their biggest issues currently are and undoubtedly you will hear that a lack of skilled labor is one of the top concerns…. especially as scores of loyal Baby Boomers begin to retire. By opening doors to local students, Superior Aluminum has introduced young people to the types of opportunities that are available right here at home. Considering that these students are the future of the workforce, it would be an injustice not to educate them on what manufacturing really is.
Thanks to a local newspaper reporter’s fantastic write-up of the event, which was featured on the front page of the local newspaper, many more individuals around the area learned of Manufacturing Day. Superior is already discussing ways to make Manufacturing Day 2019 the best yet and we invite anyone interested to come along for the ride!
If you are interested in learning more about Manufacturing Day or how to host an event, check out the official event website and sign up to their newsletter to receive news regarding next year’s event!