October 7 marks the fifth annual Manufacturing Day, when thousands of manufacturers will host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and community leaders at open houses, plant tours and educational sessions to showcase modern manufacturing technology and the jobs that are now available. It’s a chance for students to see the diverse career options that are innovative, impactful and, most likely, not what they expected.


Exposing students, their parents and even teachers to Manufacturing Day is seen as one way to begin to address the growing skills gap, which has a significant impact on manufacturers. According to research by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, 82 percent of executives responding to a skills gap survey said they believe the gap will impact their ability to meet customer demand. More than three-quarters (78 percent) of the executives said they believe it will impact their company’s ability to implement new technologies and increase productivity. Large numbers of the executives also said the lack of skilled workers hurts the ability to provide effective customer service (cited by 69 percent of the participants) and decreases the ability to innovate and develop new products (cited by 62 percent of the respondents).


“As the old idiom goes, ‘Seeing is believing,’ and that’s the guiding principle behind Manufacturing Day,” says Jennifer McNelly, executive director at The Manufacturing Institute. “It was created in response to a dire need in America: The industry today faces a major shortage of skilled workers. An estimated two million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to companies’ inability to find talent with the required skills. Several leading industry organizations determined five years ago the best way to combat this malady and reverse negative misperceptions people may have about manufacturing jobs and careers is to literally show ‘up close and personal’ the exciting kind of work that takes place in plants across the U.S.”


Participation in Manufacturing Day grows every year. In 2015, there were more than 2,600 live events, attended by more than 225,000 students and 55,000 parents, educators, job seekers and others.


What’s more impressive, are the results of a new Deloitte perception survey, developed in collaboration with The Manufacturing Institute and distributed to the manufacturing hosts so they could poll attendees. The results show that Manufacturing Day is positively impacting attendees’ perception of the manufacturing industry and its career options.


For example:

  • 81 percent of student respondents said they are more convinced manufacturing provides careers that are both interesting and rewarding,
  • 71 percent of student respondents said they are more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing,
  • 93 percent of educators said they are more convinced manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding, and
  • 90 percent of educators indicated they are more likely to encourage students to pursue a career in manufacturing.


“These findings significantly reinforce the value of Manufacturing Day,” says Michelle Drew Rodriguez, manufacturing leader, Center for Industry Insights, at Deloitte. “For those truly exposed to modern day manufacturing, perceptions do change and, based on that, we will move the needle to better fill the skills gap that challenges so many companies today.”


Although Manufacturing Day is October 7th, events do not necessarily need to be held on that date. So far, there are 2,072 MFG DAY events planned in 2016. More information about events may be found here:



What are your thoughts on Manufacturing Day and the responses from past attendees?