For the sixth consecutive year, Joliet Junior College partnered with Three Rivers Manufacturers’ Association (TRMA) to host MFG Day on Oct. 8.
Over 700 high school students from 14 area schools attended the event to learn about manufacturing careers and the important role that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) has on their education. Students had the opportunity to meet with representatives from 50 companies to get an up close look at manufacturing through hands-on, interactive displays. The companies are located throughout Will and Grundy counties, so students were able to learn about careers within their local community.
The event was held at JJC’s Main Campus in the Event Center. The program began with opening remarks from Monica Mainland, TRMA board chairman and ExxonMobil plant manager. Ray Woodsworth, representing TRMA and Joliet Junior College President Dr. Judy Mitchell also shared their perspective about the importance of Manufacturing Day.
Keynote speaker Fabian Ramirez delivered a motivational message to the students. After the opening program, students were off to the manufacturing expo to meet with representatives from area companies. Students also had the opportunity to play a “Manufacturing Jeopardy” game to learn more about the industry.
The goal of Manufacturing Day was to expand students’ knowledge of STEM-based career opportunities, emphasize the importance of manufacturing to the United States economy and raise awareness about the labor shortage in the skilled trades. Another interesting aspect was to introduce high school students to companies that are in their local communities. Many of the students were unaware that these companies are places they pass every day and can provide rewarding career opportunities close to home.
Area high schools that participated in the event included: Coal City High School, Joliet Central High School, Joliet West High School, Lockport Township High School, Minooka Community High School, Morris Community High School, Plainfield South High School, Bolingbrook High School, Romeoville High School, Grundy Area Vocational Center, Wilco Area Career Center and Wilmington High School.
The JJC/TRMA Manufacturing Day event was part of a nationwide grassroots movement by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to raise awareness about careers in the manufacturing industry to local students. There are over 2,900 MFG Day events planned in 2019.