Made in McLeod Tours Bring Middle and High School Students to Area Manufacturers
HUTCHINSON, MN – October 17, 2014
On October 15, 2014, Hutchinson manufacturers partnered with the Hutchinson Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce to host on-site tours of manufacturing facilities for area students and their parents. In its inaugural year, the Made in McLeod tours served to highlight the types of environments and jobs that are part of modern-day manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is a big part of Hutchinson,” explained Lee Miller, Economic Development Director of the Hutchinson EDA. “For years, manufacturers have been telling us that there is a shortage of skilled workers and that developing a pipeline for talented employees is a top priority. We decided to coordinate the event to help showcase the wide spectrum of manufacturers in the area and to help middle and high school students see what manufacturing is like first hand.”
“Learning about the kinds of jobs that exist is a good step toward developing a career path. Hutchinson Middle and High School Principals, Todd Grina and Patrick Walsh, are very progressive and supportive of creating opportunities for students to learn about careers in manufacturing,” noted Mary Hodson, President of the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce. “Hutchinson businesses were generous with their time and facilities; we’re hoping that this is the first of many events like this to help support and promote area manufacturing.”
“We were impressed with the initiative that the students showed by attending an event on their day off from school. That they chose to use that day to learn more about jobs in manufacturing says a lot about the kind of drive that they have,” explained Sheila Murphy, Director of Human Resources at Midwest Industrial Tool Grinding, Inc. “We welcome students and their parents to tour our facility to learn about MITGI and jobs in manufacturing in general. We believe that by reaching out to middle school and high school students through on-site tours, in-classroom visits, paid internships, and job shadowing, we’re helping to support and promote manufacturing as an industry.”
Ian McDonald, parent of two Hutchinson High School students who are both interested in engineering, wants his children to have exposure to what jobs and careers look like. “I think that we’re in the beginning of a manufacturing renaissance which will help bring work to the U.S. and provide more jobs for kids that are entering the workforce,” McDonald explained. “The manufacturers we visited illustrated the need to have a good understanding of math, science, and have the ability to interpret data. There are good paying jobs available for students who pursue either two or four-year post-secondary paths.”
McDonald’s daughter, Mackenzie, now in her senior year, plans to attend a university with a focus on engineering. “I didn’t know what to expect on the tour, but was really interested to see how the process works as products are made. It was surprising to see the technical expertise of everyone on the manufacturing floor,” she explained. “I like the idea of working while I learn, internships, and research opportunities as ways to help choose the right career path for me.”
For many students, the completion of a two-year program such as Machine Tool or Drafting is the most direct path to a career in manufacturing. Jared Hasse, a 2013 graduate from Hutchinson High School, attended the event with his brother. Having recently applied to the Machine Tool program at Ridgewater College, Hasse returned to MITGI to apply for a job after the tour. “I like the idea of working while I’m going to school to complete the machine tool program. The tour was eye opening because it helped me to understand the kind of jobs that are out there and the types of work environments that exist.”
Parents and students toured several locations that serve a wide range of industries, including: MITGI, Ag Systems, 3D CNC, RD Machine, Redline Systems, Stamp N Storage, Goebel Fixture Co., and Ridgewater College.
MITGI manufactures standard and custom cutting tools that are built to tighter tolerances than most tools on the market. Combining innovation with quality and repeatability, MITGI tools have become the product of choice in many R&D departments and manufacturing facilities that serve the medical, automotive, and aerospace industries. MITGI is the 2014 recipient of the Image Award, presented as part of the Minnesota Business Magazine Manufacturing Awards, recognizing efforts made to improve the industry’s image and the appeal of careers in manufacturing