The second offering of what is now the annual ‘Wyandot County Manufacturing Day’ was
completed on Tuesday, December 2nd. This year two additional local manufacturers were added to the program; bringing the total number of participating worksites up to seven. The participating employers included: Bridgestone APM Company, Custom Glass Solutions by Guardian, Engineered Wire Products, Ithaca Gun Company, Kalmbach Feeds, M-Tek, and Uni-Grip Inc.
The WCOED worked again in conjunction with Upper Sandusky High School and this year also partnered with Mohawk High School to offer the program to their sophomore classes. The 2014 Wyandot County Manufacturing Day program included roughly 200 students who each had the opportunity to each visit two of the participating worksites. The WCOED engaged the USHS 9th and 10th grade guidance counselor, John Boyd, and MHS American history and economics teacher, Henry Stobbs, to help carry out the program. With the increasing need for a skilled and educated workforce among local manufacturers, and the lack of a substantial talent pool, the primary goals of the program were to introduce students to the modern-day manufacturing industry and make these 10th grade students aware of the abundance of opportunities available in the manufacturing industry, and moreover in Wyandot County. The majority of students had never been exposed to a modern manufacturing environment or the various functions located therein.
Students were provided a brief overview of the Manufacturing Day goals and objectives at their respective high schools, and then broken into groups of 30 students or less. Each group was bussed to the seven participating facilities where the local employers gave students a brief overview of their respective organizations and the products they manufacture. At the majority of locations, the students were also provided a tour to show them not only production processes, but to introduce them to the various positions found within each facility. Students had an opportunity to meet personnel from various departments located in each facility, what those jobs entailed, and the types of skills and education required for each. This provided the students with a better understanding of each position’s role in the larger organization and how they could try to pursue those types of opportunities if they were of interest.
Each student was asked to complete a pre- and post-test to evaluate their prior knowledge and document changes in awareness and perceptions regarding the local manufacturing industry as well as their overall experience. From the initial data collected, these evaluations indicate the program was well received by the participating students and there is a much better awareness of both the products manufactured locally and various positions in the industry. The WCOED will use feedback from the students and participating employers to strengthen future program offerings as well as aid in expanding the reach of the program to the other Wyandot County school districts.