A. O. Smith hosts multiple Manufacturing Day events across North America


MFG Day 2017 students On Oct. 6, A. O. Smith participated in the fifth annual Manufacturing Day (MFG Day).  Three A. O. Smith plants across North America—Juarez, Mexico, McBee, S.C. and Johnson City, Tenn., along with the APCOM plant in Franklin, Tenn.—hosted official events, inviting over 350 local students to visit and tour the facilities while learning about a potential career path. 

Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, according to its website. A Deloitte survey conducted after last year’s MFG Day reported 89 percent of students were more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities, with 64 percent of students reporting that they were personally more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing after attending.

APCOM MFG Day 2017 studentsThis marks the third year that the APCOM Franklin plant has hosted students for Manufacturing Day.  “This year, we are hosting 81 Williamson County students from Page High School and Fairview Middle School,” commented Marketing Program Manager Jenn Donaldson. “Our engineers will also talk to them about their career track and HR will cover our available positions and what we look for as well as the Mike Grace Scholarship Award, open to any Williamson or Putnam County graduating high school senior to apply.” 

For the other plants, this was their first time hosting.

McBee 2017 MFG Day RobotHuman Resources Supervisor Katie Reaves remarked the event in McBee was a sure success. “This was our first time participating and it was awesome, just awesome. The students were engaged and polite – many wished they had more time!” 

The McBee plant hosted students from four different high schools—Chesterfield County, Central, Cheraw, and McBee High School—which allowed for two waves of students to visit the facility.  Each of the over 200 visitors was able to spend almost two hours exploring the ins and outs of the work done at the plant, visiting three different stations focused on process overviews, quality managing, and the many facets of engineering.

Not only were students engaged, but employees were as well.  “To pull off an event of this size takes a lot of work,” Reaves continued. “We had about 30 employees who were actively involved today, with around 20 more who did a lot of preparation work to ensure this event’s success.”

MFG Day 2017 students 2Manufacturing Day events can take many forms. According to its website, the only requirement is that MFG Day events expose more people to present-day manufacturing.  For example, while the McBee plant invited high school students, the Juarez facility had a different target: university students.

Invitations were sent to three prominent universities in the area (Juarez Tech, Tech University, and Autonomous University of Juarez) to solicit applications from those interested.  In the end, 50 students were selected to attend the Manufacturing Day tour of the Juarez facility.  Undergraduates were chosen specifically on their various interests and how they aligned with those of A. O. Smith in the area.

MFG Day 2017 student weldingManufacturing Day gives manufacturers an opportunity to connect with future generations and ensure the prosperity of the industry, according to its website.  MFG Day has only grown, increasing from 240 events in its first year to nearly 3,000 last year.  Looking forward, Reaves said she “can’t imagine” not participating next year.

Manufacturing Day is sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Manufacturing Institute.