Manufacturing Day is Friday and is a day designated to address common misperceptions about manufacturing by educating the public about manufacturing. Manufacturing is the backbone of America. It's in our blood. Americans know how to build. Americans built a nation, won two world wars, and became the one remaining super power in the world because of manufacturing. American workers are among the most productive in the world. Manufacturing jobs are traditionally good paying jobs in good companies.
Despite heavy focus on layoffs when they do happen and portrayal of manufacturing as being "dirty work," the truth is that Iowa is adding manufacturing jobs and today's manufacturing environments are clean, safe and energy-efficient.
Manufacturing is the largest sector of Iowa's economy, with the manufacturing contributing $27.6 billion to Iowa's economy in 2011. This makes Iowa sixth nationally for percentage of GDP. The Mid Iowa Growth Partnership in a 2012 Workforce Needs Assessment reports that locally (including: Calhoun, Hamilton, Hardin, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Webster, and Wright counties) there are 8,384 manufacturing jobs in the region. It was also reported that over 45 percent of area manufacturers plan on expanding their work force in the future. So, in other words, we currently have many people already working in manufacturing and with future expansion being planned, there is and will be many jobs available in manufacturing, if we can get our work force trained to do these jobs.
Iowa Central has seen the need for more classes for the local work force and offers programs to train students for future jobs in manufacturing. Recently, Iowa Central has utilized grant money (TAACCCT Grant) from the Department of Labor to help promote, recruit and train students in credit and noncredit welding and industrial maintenance classes.
Iowa Central Community college believes that manufacturing is important for our local economy and our nation as a whole. Iowa Central believes we can train our work force and attract more companies to the area. Iowa Central supports efforts to educate the public about manufacturing and applauds the men and women currently employed in these industries.
Iowa Central Community College will celebrate Manufacturing Day by hosting an event on the main campus on Friday, at Bioscience Auditorium (BHS) from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Help us celebrate by attending the event. Help us celebrate Manufacturing Day by shaking the hand and saying "thank you" to that blue-collar worker you know who works at the plant, on the production floor, welding, electrical maintenance or process controls in a variety of industries throughout our region. Celebrate by thanking the companies and businesses that are hiring folks locally to do those jobs that need to be done. If interested in attending Manufacturing Day events on the Iowa Central campus or to learn more about the great training programs and technical degrees at Iowa Central, call 574-1972.
Tim Heller is project manager for the TAACCCT Grant at Iowa Central Community College.
Shelly Blunk is director of economic development and industrial training at Iowa Central.