Manufacturing is our region’s largest industry, employing over 29,000 people in Windsor-Essex.
How can we educate students for these future careers? How can industry and education work together to prepare students for in-demand skills?
Manufacturing Day took place on October 6, 2017 and was hosted by Workforce WindsorEssex and the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation. 600 students from 13 local schools participated in visiting local manufacturing employers.
Before the tour, 65% of the students had never been on a tour of a manufacturing facility. 42% of all the students could not name a local manufacturing facility and over half the students were unaware of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.
The tours took students around shops and plants throughout the region to experience a day in the life, ask questions, and engage in hands-on activities like creating a 3D scan and welding.
Participating employers included A.V. Gauge & Fixture Inc., Anchor Danly, Cavalier Tool and Manufacturing Ltd., JD Norman Industries Inc., LAVAL International, Leggett & Platt Automotive Group, Radix Inc., Reko International Group Inc., Select Tool Inc. Fixtures, St. Clair Skilled Trades Regional Training Centre, Toolplas Systems Inc., Windsor Mold Group, and UE Enclosures.
After the tour, we surveyed the students to discover that 93.4% of students learned something new about manufacturing and 84% of students discovered local companies through the tours. One participant said their favourite part of the day was “seeing the actual workplace in the manufacturing industry. It opened my eyes.”
All of the employers surveyed agreed that Manufacturing Day was a worthwhile initiative. Encouraging a continued partnership between education and industry, 100% of employers agreed that they would be interested in hosting school tours or speaking to a class outside of Manufacturing Day.
As for the educators, 100% of survey respondents agreed that Manufacturing Day was a valuable experience for them and their students. Only 12.5% of those educators had been connected previously to a local manufacturing company. When asked what they enjoyed, one educator responded; “Touring the facilities, employers talking about career prospects, real-life applications of their products.”
We would like to thank the school boards who participated in Manufacturing Day 2017, including the Greater Essex County District School Board, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, CSC Providence, and A21 Academy.
If you are an educator who would like to participate in Manufacturing Day 2018, please contact info@WorkforceWindsorEssex.com.