Back in 2012, when Manufacturing Day began, we put forth the ambitious goal of affecting the public’s perception of manufacturing with the goal of inspiring more people to pursue manufacturing careers. We wanted to correct the idea that manufacturing involved repetitive, unskilled tasks that happened in dark, dirty factories — a ridiculous idea to anyone who has actually worked in manufacturing — and show people what manufacturing really looks like.
Measuring Shifts in Public Perception
Deloitte’s initial poll — for MFG DAY 2015 — confirmed what we had always felt and hoped: MFG DAY was moving the needle on public perception in significant, quantifiable ways. Not only that, but the positive statistics got even better in 2016.
Shifting Students’ Attitudes Toward Manufacturing
According to Deloitte’s 2015 survey, 81 percent of students who attended MFG DAY events emerged “more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding.”
To take it a step further, 64 percent of surveyed MFG DAY 2016 student event attendees — up from 62 percent in 2015 — said that they “were more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing.” Based on the 267,000 student attendance figure, that’s potentially 171,000 new members of a next-generation manufacturing workforce.
The Road Ahead
While the figures documented in the Deloitte surveys are relatively small compared to the 3.5 million U.S. skilled manufacturing jobs Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute project will need to be filled between 2015–2025, they’re a start. If MFG DAY keeps growing — and keeps shifting the perceptions of hundreds of thousands of people — each year, the numbers will quickly total in the millions.