BELOIT - Over 1,100 students across Rock and Green counties, including those from Beloit Memorial and Beloit Turner high schools, spread out across 30 businesses this week for Blackhawk Technical College's Manufacturing Days event aimed to introduce students to possible future industrial careers.
The annual event looks to change perceptions about the current manufacturing environment. This year, the local event grew over 50 percent bringing together students and businesses for first-hand tours and more.
During a tour of Stainless Tank and Equipment (STE) in Beloit on Thursday, Turner manufacturing and engineering teacher Nolan Otremba said the event was aimed at showing students how advanced manufacturing careers had become, away from the misconceptions too-often associated with the industry.
"We have a lot of thriving industry in this area and everywhere I go, a lot of businesses are having problems finding the necessary workforce," Otremba said. "Getting these kids to see that you can have a great career, a great job and the fact that you don't have to spend a fortune on college and you can be making money right out of high school. We want to show them that there are safe and viable careers. It's definitely a different experience than what manufacturing was 20 years ago. That's something we really want to stress is that it's high-tech and something that's evolving."
According to manufacturingInstitute.org, more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will become available in the United States by 2025. Wisconsin currently has the highest percentage of manufacturing employees at 9.44 percent followed by Indiana at 9.08 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Over the course of the day, students also toured Scot Forge Company, Precision Drawn Metals, Charter NEX Films, United Alloy Inc. and Precision Plus Inc.
Students were also given the opportunity to tour BTC's Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton to get an overview of technical programs available while touring the state-of-the-art facility.
"Manufacturing Days offer an opportunity for the next generation of our workforce to see the industry in action and learn about many well-paying careers," said Dr. Tracy Pierner, Blackhawk Technical College President. "We are grateful to our community partners who help make it possible for students in our region to see manufacturing in action right here in our communities."