Across the country, October 5th will be recognized as National Manufacturing Day, an annual event sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers. In Delaware, we celebrate Manufacturing Week, and this year Governor Carney signed a proclamation for this event at the newly opened Datwyler production hub in Middletown.
Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.
MFG DAY is designed to amplify the voice of individual manufacturers and coordinate a collective chorus of manufacturers with common concerns and challenges. The rallying point for a growing mass movement, MFG DAY empowers manufacturers to come together to address their collective challenges so they can help their communities and future generations thrive.
In Delaware, events are taking place around the state, with local companies inviting students in for tours of their facilities to showcase the kinds of rewarding careers that can be had in manufacturing. With the current generation of workers quickly aging out into retirement, there exists plenty of good paying jobs for those interested and willing to work.
Learn more at MFGDay.com. Chamber members should use #MFGDay18 in social media posts share their photos and events with the State Chamber.
as published by Delaware Business Times
By Roger Morris
Special to Delaware Business Times
Coming off a year when Delaware manufacturing jobs rose by almost one-half percent to about 26,000 workers, jobs growth in 2018 is expected to be similarly modest. According to local manufacturers and those who work in manufacturing-related organizations, three major trends will dominate the sector in the coming year:
Job growth will largely be organic
Most job growth will occur within businesses currently located within the state, with little expectations of immediate major manufacturing relocations to the region.
“One of the challenges we have at the Delaware Manufacturing Association is to reach out to growing companies in the state,” said Neil Nicastro, plant manager at PPG Industries’ Dover facility and a leader in the organization. “We try to get these companies in to discuss the challenges to growth they face, and we have seven sub-groups, such as health, advocacy and energy issues, to help in these areas.”
However, long-term growth may involve the relocation of heavier industries into the region, which was part of the rationale for the state changing some provisions of the Coastal Zone Act, to be more attractive for large manufactures to relocate here. Additionally, there are now recently abandoned locations available between Wilmington and the Pennsylvania border.
“I was very impressed when I recently visited the Navy Ship Yard in Philadelphia, and saw what they were doing,” Nicastro said of the 1,200-acre business campus, which is home to more than 12,000 employees and 152 companies. “I can’t help but think we can do something similar in Delaware.”
Programming and robotics part of training
Most of the jobs and job training will be concentrated on what is called “advance manufacturing” instead of traditional manufacturing skills.
“No employer is using the same machinery they were using 30 years ago,” said Rich Heffron, head of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, which means that new workers need to be trained in skills such as computer programming and robotics.
“The challenge is to find trained employees to replace older workers who are retiring,” Nicastro added.
Nicastro also thinks it’s important for young people to change their idea of manufacturing as a “dark and dirty” place, and he even invites parents to accompany their teens during career events at the PPG plant during the annual National Manufacturing Week.
Soft skills just as important
Employers are increasingly demanding that young potential workers be trained in “soft skills” as well as technical skills.
“We did a survey of state manufacturers to ask what job skills they are currently looking for,” said Paul Morris, head of workforce training at Delaware Technical Community College, “and we were surprised that about 90 percent said they needed better ‘soft’ skills, such as being skilled in leadership, teamwork and problem-solving.”
Nicastro added that some newly hired young employees have little understanding of workplace practices, even about work scheduling, being surprised that “they’re going to have to work a 40-hour week. What we really need is for more companies to provide job internships for training.”
Finally, while recent federal cuts in corporate tax rates may spur growth, James Butkiewicz, professor and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Delaware, warned, “My concern is that the tax plan increases the fiscal deficit. This will appreciate the dollar and worsen our trade deficit, and this could hurt manufacturing and agriculture.”
by Rustyn Stoops
Delaware Technical Community College, The Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership (DEMEP) and the Delaware Manufacturing Association (DMA) joined together in response to Governor Jack Markell’s proclamation of Delaware Manufacturing Week (Sept. 28-Oct 2), which coincides with National Manufacturing Day, October 2. The weeklong celebration of manufacturing in Delaware was created to recognize that manufacturing has a powerful and positive impact on Delaware’s economy.
Delaware Tech’s President, Dr. Mark Brainard, is an advocate for the manufacturing community and is proud of the College’s efforts to work with the DMA and other partners to educate the next generation of modern manufacturing workers in Delaware – from high school students to adult learners.
DEMEP and DMA worked together to organize tours during manufacturing week for high school and college students at several manufacturers throughout the state. Those tours will show the variety of career paths available to Delaware graduates and the value of a technical education. Participating companies include Eagle Group, ILC, PPG, Edgewell Personal Products, DENTSPLY/Caulk, Beracah Homes, Fujifilm and Bloom Energy. Along with showcasing their products these companies are proud to show their modern, high-tech workspaces and value they bring to the Delaware economy and local communities.
To learn more or to get involved in a tour next year, contact me at email@example.com.