What is the first thought that comes to your mind when
you think of manufacturing jobs? Some of you probably imagine a dirty shop
floor and oily, noisy machines. Sadly, this is what most of the people think of
manufacturing. However, the College of DuPage (COD) in Glen Ellyn, Illinois has
been trying to debunk this myth about manufacturing by showing interested
students what manufacturing really is. As part of this effort, COD hosted their
4th annual Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Expo last week at
their Technical Education Center (TEC).
Over 200 students from 9 local high schools visited the expo and interacted with 15 vendors who came prepared to provide information about their businesses and discuss potential career paths. The students also received a tour of the beautiful machine shop at the TEC.
As we continue to embrace the mission behind MfgDay
which is to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, OSG volunteered to participate
in the COD expo as a vendor and talked to the students about our company,
available career paths and internship opportunities. OSG district sales manager,
Matt Dahlberg, also shared his experiences from his career. Matt graduated from
Technology Center of DuPage and started in manufacturing as an apprentice at a local
die mold company. Over the past 13 years, Matt progressed in his career to CNC
machinist, CNC machine programmer, then CAD/CAM designer and most recently to OSG
district manager. In his present position, Matt applies his years of manufacturing
shop floor experience to help his customers cost effectively and efficiently
manufacture their parts with OSG drills, taps, end mills, indexable cutting
tools and thread forming die products.
Nowadays, most high schools encourage and prepare students to attend 4-year-colleges after graduation. Fenton High School in Bensenville, Illinois also focuses on sending students to 4-year-colleges, but the technical education teacher, Ben Nelson, decided to take his students to this year’s expo. “I want to make my students realize the variety of career paths available to them,” said Nelson. “Matt’s career path is eye opening for kids because average kids do not know such a career path is actually possible.”
On the other hand, the technology and engineering
program at Lake Park High School in Roselle, Illinois focuses more on
developing students’ practical skills. Andy Rupnick, technology and engineering
teacher at Lake Park High School said, “We are pushing career readiness.” The
school has just opened a new innovation center which houses 10 brand new manufacturing
machines. The new facility is used to accommodate 5 sections of classes in
manufacturing and 4 sections of classes in engineering. Rupnick said he has a
large number of students who are interested in a manufacturing career.
Associate Professor of Manufacturing Technology at COD,
Jim Filipek, taught a class during the expo that shared with students the advantages
and disadvantages of a manufacturing career. He said it is important for us to
be honest with the students and to tell them how manufacturing jobs really are.
“A manufacturing career is not glamorous, and you do
not dress up to go to work,” said Filipek, “but it gives you job security with
a thick wallet which replaces being glamorous.”
OSG wants to help change the stereotype of manufacturing as a dirty shop floor environment and to share the rewarding job opportunities available to today’s students through our involvement in the community and with these technical school programs. In order to be successful, we understand that manufacturers share the responsibility with educators to inspire students to consider and pursue manufacturing careers. In the long run, this is essential to the future of American manufacturing.