BELOIT - Stateline Area high school students from 18 different schools ditched the classroom on Thursday for a chance to peek behind-the-scenes at the local job market as part of the 2019 Manufacturing Days event.
Students spent time spread out across 26 different area businesses to get first-hand looks at the local advanced manufacturing industry. The local event, which runs nationwide each year, is organized by Blackhawk Technical College and has grown to a two-day affair in the first week of October.
"Our students are exposed to many areas and industries with advanced manufacturing," said Director of Career Education with the School District of Beloit Mitchell Briesemeister. "We get to show students very high tech, lucrative career opportunities that have great opportunities for pay and advancement."
Students visited Blackhawk's Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton where they got an overview of technical programs while on the tour. Students also toured at least one business in the region to see demonstrations and draw attention to the opportunities that a career in manufacturing can offer.
"Manufacturing Day is a great way to provide local students with access to manufacturers in our area who need skilled workers, and it allows students to see how Blackhawk Technical College can help them continue on their pathway of success," said Manufacturing Day Coordinator Rini De Alwis.
In South Beloit, a group of students from Beloit Learning Academy donned hard hats and safety glasses and got an up-close look at Mid-States Concrete Industries and the work they do in sustaining the area's construction industry since 1946.
Company officials said Thursday's event helped break down misconceptions often associated with manufacturing jobs.
"We're able to help support area schools and it's a great opportunity for the students to see what we do," said Mid-States Concrete Marketing Specialist Stephanie McCord. "If this helps get them interested in manufacturing, we couldn't pass up an opportunity like that."
Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development liaison Dana Melahn said Manufacturing Days helps show just how vibrant the local manufacturing sector is in the Stateline Area.
"All the companies make such different things," Melahn said. "It's great to see what they are learning in the classroom can be used first-hand at a future job and today is an example of that. We need to show young people what opportunities there are so we keep talent locally and have them come to work in the area."
Participating companies include Ball Corporation, Charter NEX Films, Cotta Transmission Company, Edgerton Gear Inc., Freedom Graphic Systems, Frito Lay, GOEX Corporation, Kuhn North America, Inc., Lyons/TRU to Nature, Mid-States Concrete, Monroe Truck Equipment, Morgan Corporation, NAPCO Pipe & Fittings, NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC, North American Tool, Novares, Orchid Monroe LLC, Prent, Scot Forge Company, Seneca Foods Corporation, SHINE Medical Technologies, SSI Technologies, Inc., Seal-Rite Door, Stainless Tank & Equipment, Stoughton Trailers, and United Alloy Inc.