As October comes to an end, so does this year’s Manufacturing Month. This annual event, which began in 2012, is designed to address common misperceptions about manufacturing and help inspire the industry’s next generation of workers.

Along with AEM and its national grassroots campaign I Make America, dozens of equipment manufacturers held events throughout the month, mostly with students.

I Make America is rounding out the month this week with several stops across Wisconsin and Illinois as part of this year’s inaugural Pancakes & Policy Tour. The tour is educating the men and women of the industry about the public policies that are essential for equipment manufacturers’ continued success, including infrastructure, trade, and workforce development. This week’s visits include two in Wisconsin, Telsmith in Mequon and Woods Equipment Company in Kronenwetter, as well as a stop at General Kinematics in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

These visits wrap up a busy month for I Make America, which also saw a visit by Rep. Bacon (R-Neb.) to Graepel in Omaha, Nebraska, as well as various grassroots events by Custom Products of Litchfield, Stellar Industries, LeeBoy, and Kolberg-Pioneer. Altogether, I Make America engaged with a record-number of supporters during Manufacturing Month and added over 5,000 new supporters.

AEM member companies also helped celebrate Manufacturing Month by hosting their own events, opening up their manufacturing facilities and offices to members of the community and local schools.

“Manufacturing Month allows us to showcase the equipment industry, our company, and the importance of manufacturing jobs to our local economies,” said Jerry Johnson, president of the Farm Ranch & Ag Division (FRAG) of Blount International, Inc. and AEM’s Ag Sector Board Chair. “For several years we have been participating in the ‘8th Grade Heavy Metal Tour’ in cooperation with the Wausau, Wisconsin School District. We take any chance we can get to help young people explore manufacturing careers.”

Volvo Construction Equipment also sees value in participating in the annual initiative.

“Manufacturing Month events are a great way to showcase the variety of career opportunities that exist in the manufacturing sector,” said Kellan Lowe, human resources director at Volvo Group North America. “By engaging with students, we hope to generate increased interest and awareness about manufacturing careers, and give them some insights into what it takes to be successful in whatever field they ultimately choose.”  

Examples of other member companies’ activities during Manufacturing Month include General Kinematics hosting a “Made in Your Own Backyard” event where students and parents toured the facility and explored careers in equipment manufacturing, including welding, machine building, and painting. CLAAS of America hosted a career roundtable for local students, with the opportunity to explore equipment and participate in other hands-on activities.

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