In 2014, the International Sign Association (ISA) started promoting National Manufacturing Day. The National Association of Manufactures concieved the event, and ISA saw the value in the event for the sign industry. The event has grown into an annual affair for North American Signs (NAS), occurring every October. It has been a great way to show students in the community the benefits of working for a national sign manufacturer.
Manufacturing Day is a nationally recognized day where students of all ages can visit participating manufacturing companies. The goal of the day is to promote both careers in manufacturing, and “us”, as a national sign manufacturer. In mid September of 2014 Dee Mackenzie, our director of human resources, decided to add NAS to the Manufacturing Day website. Employees from the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce (SBRC) saw the entry and approached NAS about the event.
In less than a month, NAS worked with the SBRC to organize the event. We gathered 26 manufacturing companies and over 500 students in St. Joseph County to participate in the day-long event. As a result, the event had the largest concentration of participants in the country.
On Manufacturing Day in 2015, students were asked to answer a series of questions throughout the day. Before the tours started only 46% of participating students were considering a career in manufacturing. After the tours were complete, 88% of students indicated they would consider a career in manufacturing.
Following the most recent Manufacturing Day in 2016, a number of students who toured NAS followed up with feedback about their experience. Some found it fascinating to learn about the different materials and steps that go into making a sign. Others stated their appreciation for the opportunity to learn about a career field they had yet to consider. Overall, the students were extremely grateful to tour NAS and learn of all the different manufacturing jobs available.
Since 2014, the event has grown throughout the local school system with over 600 participants in 2016. Elkhart County manufacturing companies also participated in the day for the first time in 2016, and had many student participants as well.
Our current team also enjoys the opportunity to see students eyes light up and new possibilities appear. Inspiring others creates its own rewards.
Manufacturing Day is just one of the many ISA opportunities NAS has participated in as a national sign manufacturer. The opportunity to influence students and show them a meaningful career in national sign manufacturing makes this a rewarding experience.
We look forward to hosting a new generation of students at St. Joseph County’s 4th annual Manufacturing Day held on October 6th, 2017.