Manufacturing Expo brings area companies, county students together
Business representatives from throughout Ozaukee County gathered at Homestead High School in Mequon on Tuesday for the seventh annual Manufacturing and Career Expo, hosted by Ozaukee Economic Development and the Workforce Development Board.
The expo is held on the campus of a different county high school every year, rotating every four years.
“That way, every high school student will be exposed to the opportunities in manufacturing at least once while they are in school,” said Kathleen Cady Schilling, executive director of Ozaukee Economic Development.
Organizers explained that the program is intended to promote career paths in the manufacturing sector, highlighting training and educational requirements that students should focus on.
Cady Schilling said students in the northern part of the county seem to be much more interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing than their counterparts in the southern part of the county.
Still, exhibitors said, the time to set up booths and explain their businesses is worthwhile.
“Getting into the high schools is really important for businesses like ours,” said Craig Wichmann, a shop foreman at Ram Tool in Grafton.
“The students learn there is a lot more to manufacturing careers than they first thought. If we come away with just one person who we interested in a career with us, it is worth the time.”
Company representatives said outreach programs like the expo provide an opportunity to stress how important classes in business, science, engineering and industrial arts can be in the workplace.
They all said their companies are in hiring mode now, an indication that the fields offer strong prospects for future employment.
During the expo, students are encouraged to stop at the displays ringing the gym floor, ask questions of the exhibitors and qualify for door prizes by participating in the session.
Local companies taking part in this year’s expo included Molded Dimensions of Port Washington; Charter Automotive, a division of Charter Steel in Saukville; Ram Tool, Waukesha Metal, John Crane-Orion, Seek and Kapco Metal Stamping, all of Grafton; Carlson Tool of Cedarburg; GenMet, Jorgenson Conveyors and Rockwell Automation, all of Mequon; as well as Milwaukee Area Technical College and US Bank.
Image information: LINDSEY NIELSEN, (right) from the human resources department at Charter Automotive, a division of Charter Steel, chatted with students. Photo by Mark Jaeger