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Getting an inside look at what’s made in Port PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 October 2017 15:51

Manufacturers give students a glimpse of the many jobs that await them

    KMC Stamping, Construction Forms, Molded Dimensions and D.D. Williamson represent vastly different aspects of manufacturing, but they joined together Friday to celebrate National Manufacturing Day.
    About 50 high school and technical college students and their parents toured the businesses during the morning, getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse at potential careers in an often overlooked segment of business.
    It also gave these businesses the opportunity to show off their products and industry to a population that may not have a clue what’s being produced in their own community.
    Construction Forms manufactures products for the concrete pumping industry that are used throughout the world, while Molded Dimensions is a custom molder of rubber and cast polyurethane components.
    KMC Stamping produces engineered manufactured metal stampings and fabrications, and D.D. Williamson makes natural colorings for the food industry.
    These types of businesses are often located in industrial or business parks outside the central part of a community.
    “It’s easy to be out of sight, out of mind,” Jessica Peterson, human resources manager at Construction Forms, said.
    Participating in National Manufacturing Day “gives us the opportunity to showcase what we do,” she added.
    The students, Peterson said, were interested and asked “a ton” of questions about both the business and potential careers.
    The idea of exposing young people to potential careers in manufacturing is yet another reason for the celebration, Port Mayor Tom Mlada said.
    “As a city, we are blessed to have many successful manufacturing businesses who recognize the value and importance of engaging young men and women today to help them prepare for the extraordinary career opportunities of tomorrow,” he said.
    Like manufacturers nationwide, local businesses are facing a shortage of skilled workers, Mlada said.
    “The challenge for these four companies is ... aligning available workforce needs with available skilled workers,” he said.
    Mike Katz, president of Molded Dimensions, noted that in a recent survey, 67% of employers reported a moderate to severe skills gap as they search for new employees.
    “Manufacturing has an aging work force where 80% of the current workforce is between 45 and 65,” he said.
    “That creates great opportunities for prospective employees and provides a clear path for great advancement opportunities.”
    The National Manufacturing Day event is a collaboration between the city, its Economic Development Committee and the Port Washington-Saukville School District.
    This is the second year Construction Forms has participated in the event, Peterson said.
    “We think it’s really important to support manufacturing careers,” she said, noting many students don’t even consider the “lucrative and in demand” manufacturing sector when contemplating their future.
    “We really try to focus (during the day) on ‘These are the opportunities that are available and this is the education you need to get those jobs,’” she said.
    “There’s so much opportunity in the field. They don’t require expensive, four-year degrees, but they’re good jobs.”
    As much as the event provides an opportunity for students to learn about manufacturing and the jobs that are out there, it’s also about letting current employees show their skills, Peterson added.
    “There’s just something about watching the students and seeing them get excited about what you do,” she said. “They (employees) are excited to show off their work areas and what they’re doing.”

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