Orange County's Manufacturing Day

On October 20th Orange County Economic Development Partnership hosted the first county-wide Manufacturing Day event. Manufacturing Day is a national event that highlights the reality of modern-day manufacturing careers by encouraging companies & educational institutions to engage one another during a planned event.

Manufacturing businesses within the community were encouraged to participate in showcasing the high-skill, high-tech, and high-paying job opportunities that exist within their organization. 

“We have a number of high-paying jobs that are available within our county. This is a way for students to be exposed to the opportunities that exist before they choose their learning pathway” said Kristal Painter, Executive Director of Orange County Economic Development Partnership. 

Manufacturing Day is geared towards 8th grade students. All three Orange County Schools participated with 90 students from Paoli, 40 students from Orleans, and 63 students from Springs Valley. “Our 8th grade students will choose a graduation pathway this coming spring. As a school, we are very intentional with providing as many opportunities for our students in regards to career choice. We like for them to begin that thought process as early as possible about what types of various careers are often available locally that they may not realize. Many times a student will see a business hundreds of times in their lives, but not really know what goes on inside those walls. Manufacturing Day was yet another opportunity for our students to see firsthand about possible careers right here in Orange County”, Daniel Wolford, Principal Orleans Jr/Sr High School.  

Key partners that stepped up to help make this event possible were Jasper Seating Company Inc., Best Home Furnishings, Pluto Inc., and Boston International. Each company participated in planning meetings along with school administrators leading up to the event and were eager to host 8th grade students at their facilities. Each School’s 8th graders were divided into groups to tour different locations within the community. Orleans 8th graders toured Jasper Seating Company Inc., Best Home Furnishings and Boston International. Paoli 8th Graders toured Jasper Seating Company Inc., Pluto Inc., Boston International, and Best Home Furnishings. Springs Valley 8th graders toured Boston International and Pluto Inc. After a successful event, Russ Sage, Director of Personnel Development at Jasper Seating Company Inc. shared, “We were honored to be a part of this year’s Manufacturing Day Event. We at Jasper Group have a commitment to participate in community events, realizing we have a responsibility to our schools and local community to not only be a great place to work, but to leave an employment legacy for our future generation of workers. We work hard to do both. It was great to be able to showcase both of those things to our community and to present students with future employment options.”  

Since the students were broken up into groups, not all visiting the same location, the idea was for conversations to continue amongst students and teachers once returning to the schools about what they had learned that day by touring these facilities. Hopefully their conversations will help spark an interest in a specific career pathway. “The Orange County Manufacturing Day event was a success in many ways. Students were able to see many aspects of a real Manufacturing Company such as what it looks like, how they operate, the products they produce, as well as the many careers held within the walls of a Manufacturing company.  Many of Lost River Career Cooperative’s career pathways were highlighted on the tours providing students with the guidance they need to choose a career pathway that is best suited for their future career”, said Jason Goodman, Assistant Director at Lost River Career Cooperative. 

Pam Metz, President of Boston International shared “BI was thrilled to participate in our first Orange County Manufacturing Day! It was great to see these young people’s excitement while being exposed to the many opportunities they have right here at home. Keeping young talent in Orange County is so important to our future workforce. I only hope we see more programs like this in the coming months and years!” 

Students from each school completed surveys talking about their experiences, what they enjoyed about the tours, and how we can improve future events. Leaders from the participating businesses, school administrators, and Orange County Economic Development will be meeting to discuss survey results as well as make plans for future events to expose students to all the opportunities that exist in our community.