All New MFG Day!
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A portion of this article was originally created by NIST MEP and is featured on the Manufacturing Innovation Blog 

Manufacturing Day is Back

Given the limitations with public gatherings and social distancing practices prompted by the current pandemic, it’s uncertain whether manufacturers will be hosting traditional on-site tours of their facilities on Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) this October. But as we have learned with so many other aspects of our lives, a virtual option awaits.

And while there is no replacing the sensory experience of watching a manufacturing process up close for the first time, there may be opportunities with a virtual event to increase community engagement and collect data on visitors who are interested in a career in manufacturing.

MFG Day is October 2nd this year (the first Friday in October), but hosts are able to schedule their event at any time. More than 325,000 students, teachers, and parents participated in MFG Day 2019, which consisted of more than 3,000 events held across all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

MFG Day is an initiative of The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). As one of the original co-producers of Manufacturing Day, the MEP National Network continues to promote MFG Day on a state-by-state basis.

MFG Day resources and toolkits will be uploaded and updated on the Creators Wanted website throughout the summer. Here are some considerations and suggestions for hosting a virtual MFG Day event. If you need any help planning your virtual event, reach out to OMEP.

Regional Opportunities

As more regional opportunities become available across Oregon, we will post new updates.


The Hillsboro area is celebrating the whole of National Manufacturing Month, kicking off on Manufacturing Day, October 2nd.  For the month of October, they will showcase a webpage with virtual “booths” for manufacturers. They will be advertising to schools and teachers to draw students to the site as well as to the wider community.

Sponsoring manufacturers will have a logo, a link to their website, a quick description, and a posted video.  The videos can be produced in-house or School to Career can record a Zoom meeting with interview questions designed specifically for this event. Our free level will include only the logo and a link to the company website.  We hope that this open exploration model will allow a wide range of people to see how important manufacturing is in our local economy.

  • Platinum Sponsor-$1500 (Two available)
  • Gold Sponsor-$1000 (Eight available)
  • Silver Sponsor- $250 (30 available)
  • Bronze Sponsor- Free listing (30 available)

For more information on how to get involved please contact Heather Ferrin-Myers, Director of School to Career         |       503.726.2154 direct      |

Start Planning Three Months Before Your Event

Many of the early preparations are the same for a virtual or on-site Manufacturing Day event, so you can begin planning now without having to make the decision of whether to go virtual. The Manufacturing Institute produced a comprehensive Manufacturing Day Host Toolkit, A Guide to Successful Manufacturing Day Plant Events. They suggest beginning planning three months out and including several members of your staff, which may change as you determine the format, content and technology needed. If you have event partners, bring them in on the planning right away.

It’s not clear if or how requirements for hosting a Manufacturing Day event may change in the coming months. Current requirements include:

  • The event must be open to students, parents and/or educators.
  • It should include a tour or demo at a manufacturing facility or manufacturing-supporting site such as a design office or innovation center.
  • It could be a manufacturing-related jobs fair or career day.

Determine What You Want to Accomplish with Manufacturing Day

Start your planning process with a goal — what you would like to achieve — and then work backward to design the event. Manufacturing Day is meant to increase visibility into manufacturing and inspire the next generation of creators but drilling down to a more specific objective can help you build a steady pipeline of future workers.

Identify potential new relationships, such as with high school guidance counselors, economic development agency staffers or hiring firms that might suggest your company to job prospects. Play to your strengths to attract the most potential prospects, or perhaps address a gap in your workforce by highlighting a certain job description as part of the event programming.

Again, depending upon your desired outcomes, this could be an opportunity to expand your invitation list to include key stakeholders from city staff, workforce boards, chambers of commerce and other civic organizations.

Design the Event With Your Goals and Objectives in Mind

Bear in mind that a virtual event may have more limitations than a traditional on-site event. For example, even a short tour of a small portion of a facility might not be feasible given video technology or costs. It might be better to instead build your programming around a couple of process demonstrations or a series of testimonials and a question-and-answer session with key employees involved in engineering, automation, 3D printing or other areas of interest to technology-minded prospects.

It would be good to know if students will each have access to a PC or if they will be watching on a shared classroom display. You might be able to add some kind of interactive session, such as with CAD design tools or software for 3D printing. It might be possible for participants to answer questions in a survey format about what they are most interested in related to manufacturing, which could lead to qualified job leads.

Last year, Discovery Education and the Arconic Foundation produced a high-end 20-minute virtual tour of Arconic’s advanced manufacturing hub in Alcoa, Tennessee, which continues to serve as a recruitment tool. While a fully produced piece may be too expensive for most smaller manufacturers, you may be able to mix previously recorded videos with live streams on the day of the event to hold your audience’s attention.

Research Technology Platforms: There Are Plenty of Options

A big factor in planning a virtual event is choosing the technology platform. A few months ago, many people didn’t know what a Zoom video conference was, let alone were comfortable with the format. But now there are many other video formats being widely used. OMEP is here to help, and may be able to offer the use of our zoom platform for events. Reach out to Jasmine with questions.


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