Spotlight on Nassau County: Manufacturers and Students Celebrate Manufacturing Day



Manufacturing Day is one of the big blockbuster events of the year. It's like the Oscars, as manufacturers across the country open their doors to welcome the community to showcase their products, more importantly, get a behind-the-scenes look at the innovation and skills required to be part of a high-tech, high-skilled workforce. Here in Florida, Manufacturing Day kick-started on October 5th with hundreds of students and educators from school districts across Florida participating in the Made in Florida industry tours and MFG Day events. “Manufacturing Day/Month is a time to enhance the future generation by creating awareness about manufacturing, and showcasing local products made in your hometown,” said Sherri Mitchell who oversees workforce development efforts for the Nassau County Economic Development Board. For a number of years, Mitchell has led the effort to spearhead MFG Day events and industry tours in Nassau County, FL, connecting local manufacturers with schools/school districts, raise awareness about manufacturing in the area, and to highlight how manufacturing has evolved over the years.

In Nassau County, MFG Day has experienced growth in terms of the number of participating school students, educators, and industry hosts. This year approximately 358 students from three middle and high schools toured manufacturing facilities to learn about the diverse, exciting and rewarding career opportunities in manufacturing. “It was a great success,” Mitchell said especially since last year only one company had hosted an MFG Day tour. 2018 also marked the start of a fresh partnership with the Nassau Industry Network which represents manufacturers throughout Nassau County. 


MFG Day gave students from rural and urban areas in Nassau County a chance to learn about products not only made in their backyard but across Florida. In a post-event survey, a high school student from Hilliard Middle Senior High School who toured Florida Sun Printing in Nassau County stated “I enjoyed seeing the process of how things are manufactured.” Another student from Yulee High School who toured the Masonite manufacturing facility in Nassau County stated the tour was fun and he learned a lot. Indeed the MFG Day tours helped students learn about careers in manufacturing that “don't necessarily require a four-year degree” but still offers lucrative careers depending on where they fall in the career ladder. “I hope students will take a fresh look at manufacturing and consider it as a viable career option,” Mitchell said. MFG Day also enabled schools/school districts to build sustainable partnerships with local industries and organizations like FLATE. “FLATE’s Made in Florida site has been an incredible resource,” said Mitchell. The site is the 'go-to' place to stay informed about the latest trends in manufacturing and for accessing tools to enrich STEM educators' everyday lesson plans.
MFG Day is making a tremendous impact in raising awareness not only about the contributions of manufacturing to the state and national economy but more importantly building a pipeline of next-generation high-tech, high-skilled workers. To date, on a statewide level, approximately 3,029 students and 195 educators toured 221 industry sites in 14 counties across Florida. In keeping with the ongoing strategy to survey all MFG Day participants and gauge the overall impact of MFG Day tours, FLATE surveyed students, educators, parents/chaperones and industry hosts. FLATE is currently tabulating the surveys and will share an in-depth report with MFG Day teams and in future issues of the FLATE Focus, so stay tuned! 




For a full listing of 2018 Florida Manufacturing Day/Month news and events contact your local regional manufacturers' association. For STEM-related resources for the classroom, or to set up an industry tour for students contact your local manufacturers' association, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org and visit the Florida Manufacturing Day site at http://madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day. For information on national MFG Day events visit www.mfgday.com, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at 813.259.6578 and at barger@fl-ate.org