Hoerbiger Corporation of America Spearheads MFG Day/Month Industry Tours in Southeast Florida

Manufacturing Day and Month is a big newsmaker as companies across America participate in hosting and organizing industry tours for middle and high school students in their region. In Southeast Florida, Hoerbiger Corporation of America in Pompano Beach, Fla. took a leading role in spearheading MFG Day industry tours and activities for students in Palm Beach and Broward counties in Southeast Florida. Hoerbiger is one of FLATE’s regional industry partners who has for a number years served as the regional industry partner for MFG Day/Month activities.

Karen Elordi, MFG Day representative at Hoerbiger says the goal this year was to have four schools participate in a tour of its
manufacturing facilities to witness their high-tech manufacturing operations. This year, Hoerbiger hosted four school tours of up to 30 students each on two separate days, as “a smaller group ensured more engaged and interested participants.” In 2013 and 2014, Hoerbiger hosted 100 students (50 each from two schools), while 2015 the company invited three schools with 25 students each. The tours were conducted on October 19 and October 26, with students from American Heritage and Dillard High Schools touring Hoerbiger on October 19, and students from Boca Raton Community High School and Stranahan High Schools touring the facility on October 26.

Elordi says establishing a close connection with schools is a long-term, committed process that entails reaching and frequently
communicating with industry partners and schools who have participated in past MFG Day industry tours and identifying how they can they benefit from learning about manufacturing as a viable career pathway. During the tour, Students were divided into three groups and were given a tour of the facility that ranged from seeing the ‘machines in action,’ and interacting with the sales, service, methods, engineering and CAD departments. Students watched a video that provided an overview of Hoerbiger operations and highlighted the roles, responsibilities and insights from engineers, some of who started working at Hoerbiger after they graduated from high school and later attended college through the company’s employee tuition reimbursement program.

A cornerstone of FLATE’s manufacturing day strategy has been to survey all industry tour participants. Industry hosts, students,
teachers and chaperones who participated in the industry tour at Hoerbiger have been surveyed with many students stating they were surprised to see advanced manufacturing operations and they were glad to see some of their school lessons being used in the real world. Students also state they enjoyed talking with employees and were able to ask questions and learn from their personal stories. In terms of the industry hosts, many Hoerbiger employees commented that they were surprised that students knew as much as they did, and had access to the kind of equipment they had in school. “I wish we had that when I was in school” stated an employee. Other stated “I never got to have that experience when I was in school,” and “They are so much more advanced than when I was in school.” Elordi was also thanked for a “wonderful, incredibly well-organized day” by one of the teachers, and even though each school brought a different type of student (i.e., pre-engineering, AICE business, BRACE and Engineering magnet) they all found an interest in some area that they saw.  FLATE is currently tabulating student, educator and industry survey results. We will an in-depth report highlighting impact of tours in subsequent editions of the FLATE Focus, so stay tuned!

Looking to 2017 and beyond, Hoerbiger is already working with the Broward County Schools curriculum advisor to include more
schools and local manufacturers. “We are also throwing around some new ideas which would allow us to include more than four schools next year” said Elordi. On a similar token Elordi recommends providing short video that could show different types of manufacturing and careers to captive students’ interest. “We are glad Hoerbiger continues to take a proactive role in executing an effective manufacturing day strategy in the region” said Dr. Marilyn Barger. We hope to continue this partnership and expand the reach and scope of the tours in the next few years, Barger said.

For more information about Manufacturing Day tours in Southeast Florida and to sign up for next year’s tours contact Karen Elordi, Human Resources Special Projects for Hoerbiger at Karen.elordi@hoerbiger.com, and at 954.623.2028. For information on Manufacturing Day/Month tours, events and news from across the state visit the Florida Manufacturing Day page at www.mfgday-fl.com, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, and 813.259.6578. You can also visit the National Manufacturing Day site at http://www.mfgday.com/events, and/or visit the hastags #FLMfgMonth16 and #MFGDay16 to track social buzz.