This year was our first year hosting a Manufacturing Day event. We were very excited to join the thousands of other manufacturers in "inspiring the next generation of skilled workers." Since 2012, manufacturers across the country have been hosting events for students, parents and instructors to learn more about the diverse career opportunities manufacturing offers. The event was started by the Founding Partner Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International. In its first year, less than 300 manufacturers hosted an event. Six years later, it’s grown to nearly 3,000 events hosted by manufacturers across the country, including Kinze.
“Our goal was to showcase our modern manufacturing facilities and communicate the opportunities we offer high school graduates to innovate, solve problems and earn a good living," said Susie Veatch, president of Kinze Manufacturing. "We draw many of our employees from our local communities, but some students may not realize the various career possibilities available so close to home," added Veatch.
We hosted about 125 high school students from BGM, HLV, Iowa Valley, Montezuma, Sigourney and Williamsburg interested in manufacturing careers. Kyle Fitzpatrick, program manager, started the day off speaking about his career advancements in manufacturing. “Manufacturing rewards motivated problem solvers,” exclaimed Fitzpatrick. “It offers the opportunity to learn as you go, both with on-the-job skills and formal education,” added Fitzpatrick. He began his manufacturing career with a two-year degree. As he worked and gained more skills, he also continued his education. He now holds a Masters in Business Administration.
Our Director of Human Resources, Mike Medhurst, then discussed what it’s like to work at Kinze and the financial realities of attending a four-year university in Iowa. “There is this misconception that students need to go to college to be successful and that’s just not true,” explained Medhurst. "Manufacturing jobs pay well so you can provide for your family and not incur any student debt. There are many people who start in an entry-level production position and work their way up into management. Some pursue education opportunities while working at Kinze, like Kyle. It’s exciting to see people start here, develop skills and advance in their careers,” said Medhurst. "Manufacturing is an honorable career. We help feed the world here at Kinze. What’s more honorable than that?” added Medhurst.
After students heard from the speakers, they took a factory tour to see the various manufacturing career opportunities in action. As the students took the factory tour, they were challenged to think beyond what they saw. “If you are looking at a laser cutting parts, there is someone who programmed it, someone who planned for that part to be made, someone who ordered the steel, and the list goes on,” said Fitzpatrick. Students were able to see raw materials become planters from fabrication to machining and welding to the paint line and final assembly. Overall, it was a wonderful event. We are already looking forward to next year’s Manufacturing Day!
To see more from our Manufacturing Day event, check out our MFG Day 18 highlight reel on our Instagram.