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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Progress Through Partnerships, Spring 2014

Macomb County will join forces with schools to host wide-scale event celebrating MFG Day in 2014

Last year, Macomb County was one of eight organizations to host an event in honor of national Manufacturing Day.  Nationwide, more than 880 events were organized to help dispel misperceptions about today’s manufacturing environment while creating greater awareness about the career possibilities within the industry.

A cross-county tour of manufacturers, lead by County Executive Mark A. Hackel, received great media coverage.  Afterward, a group of Macomb’s leading manufacturers joined together for a roundtable to discuss industry concerns.

One of the overarching messages we heard was, “There aren’t enough young people interested in entering our field.”  With the average age of today’s manufacturing employee closing in on 55, this is a real concern.

In response, the department reached out to the Macomb Intermediate School District to explore the possibility of exposing students to career possibilities.  Superintendent Mike DeVault offered his support but recommended that in order to garner needed support; we should offer superintendents and other school personnel the opportunity to see manufacturing in action.

On February 28, we offered a special “field trip” for school officials from 11 of Macomb’s 21 districts.  The purpose of the day was to offer a peek at the high-tech world of today’s manufacturing environment as well create a better understanding of the interesting – and high-paying – jobs that the industry offers.

“I have spent a lot of time talking with our manufacturers to get a better understanding of some of the challenges they face,” said County Executive Mark A. Hackel.  “What they tell me is that they are concerned that there aren’t enough young people entering the field.”

The group boarded a bus and made several stops throughout the county.

Their first visit was to PTI Engineered Plastics in Macomb Township where they saw the “product life cycle” in action as well as an opportunity to speak with workers who make it all happen.  Next, they visited the SKF-USA plant in Armada where they once again mingled with workers and learned more about their passion for their work.

The day culminated in a roundtable discussion at the Romeo’s Engineering & Technology Center where c-level executives from Avon Gear, Dynamics Plastics, Elite Plastics, Fori Automation, Hard Milling Solutions, KUKA Systems North America, Proper Group International, RCO Engineering and Triumph Gear gathered to share their perspective.  Several of our state and federal legislators either attended or sent a representative for this portion of the day.

“Our hope is to organize a large-scale event that will dispel the myth that manufacturing is dirty, dangerous or dull,” said Stephen N. Cassin, executive director of the department.  “Ultimately, we want our youth and their families to see that manufacturing is an interesting field that offers meaningful careers.”

The next step is to begin working out the necessary logistics to involve students from every district in the county.  Manufacturers who are interested in getting involved by opening their facilities for tours in October are encouraged to contact Maria Zardis at 586-469-5285 or