Marine companies addressed the growing workforce shortage by offering events in conjunction with Manufacturing Day.
“U.S. manufacturing is projected to have a shortage of workers the next 10 years despite offering great careers with competitive pay and benefits,” Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin told Trade Only Today. “The combination of a growing economy and retiring baby boomers is projected to leave U.S. manufacturers with a shortage of available workers. As an industry we need to continue sharing the wonderful career opportunities we offer.”
Manufacturing Day is a monthlong celebration of modern manufacturing.
Yeargin, who has long touted the benefits of participating in Manufacturing Day, inspired Jonathon Burns, general manager at Yamaha Marine Precision Propellers Industries in Indianapolis. YPPI hosted about 100 college and high school students and offered a hands-on opportunity to pour tin to make a Yamaha keychain.
“It was so awesome. It exceeded my expectations,” Burns told Trade Only today. “They got to inject a wax part. They got to engage with our operators on the floor about how they do their jobs. We had made some shells — that’s what we cast in — and they got to pour tin out of a hot pot and got to make their own Yamaha keychain. It wasn’t just a tour around the facility. We didn’t just talk about how we do the process; we let them do the process. It went over really, really well.”
Here is a video from Yamaha Marine Precision Propellers Industries about the keychains.
One group consisted of University of Indianapolis students and professors — “they were just so fired up,” Burns said.
The professors were looking to YPPI for potential partnerships that would include guest lecturers at the school to talk about hands-on training. It could also include students helping the company look at things in new ways to help solve problems.
A group of students from one of the local high schools that offer technical programs also visited, which sparked the idea or possibility of expanding vocational internship possibilities, Burns said.
The operators were the “star of the show,” Burns said. “This wasn’t planned this way. It just happened this way. They came up to the kids and were really talking through how they did their job and why they did it. I was really excited to see that. It made the tour more authentic.”
Yamaha also brought in one of its G3 Boats and a Skeeter Boat equipped with outboards and props so the students could appreciate the entire process, Burns said.
“We don’t do any sales and marketing at this facility. They sent those here before the tour with pamphlets that said, ‘You’re going to see all these shiny things; these are the nuances from prop to prop.’ We were able to show the importance of that propeller on the boat and how that affects the performance of the boat,” Burns said. “If you don’t know much about the marine industry, propellers might look like widgets. We were able to put the entire picture together for people."
About 200 students visited Correct Craft facilities for in-depth tours teaching them about the way boats are built and giving them opportunities to learn more about the careers available in marine manufacturing, the company said.
Last week students from the Newberry Country Career Center visited the Pleasurecraft Engine Group facility in Little Mountain, S.C.; SeaArk Boats invited students involved in agricultural and trade programs at 10 local high schools to its Monticello, Ark., facility to learn more about the variety of careers available at SeaArk after they graduate.
Bass Cat and Yar-Craft Boats partnered with Mountain Home, Gainesville and Norfork high schools to bring more than 100 students to its Mountain Home, Ark., factory.
Centurion and Supreme Boats partnered with the Merced County Office of Education to bring local high school students to their factory in Merced, Calif.
Because of Hurricane Irma, Nautique Boat Co. in Orlando, Fla., was forced to reschedule its Manufacturing Day events for later in the month.
“Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity to show off our companies and the careers we offer to young people in our community,” Yeargin said. “Our Correct Craft teams are excited each year to have local young people visit our facilities and learn what we do. Each year the students leave our Manufacturing Day events enlightened and energized by the boat industry and the careers we offer.”
Brunswick Corp. also participated in activities around Manufacturing Day and has more planned. Staff from the Sea Ray plant in Tellico, Fla., spoke to Monroe County principals and guidance counselors about careers in manufacturing at Cleveland State University, spokesman Daniel Kubera told Trade Only.
On Tuesday Sea Ray will host about 30 Monroe County High School students for a plant tour.
On Friday the company began using its Facebook page to promote National Manufacturing Day with its current job openings. It has planned several Sea Ray employee appreciation events throughout the week.
Last week the company hosted the North East Tennessee Economic Development Corp. at its Greeneville, Tenn., parts operation and will meet with the Greene County Chamber of Commerce on site Oct. 16 to discuss manufacturing opportunities at the facility.
Even if just one or two students wind up with careers at YPPI, the events are worth it to show them what is possible, Burns said.
“My eyes were definitely opened,” Burns said. “One, in just starting to do the research on the amount of high school programs that have vocational programs within them in our area. I just didn’t know. I was just encouraged to know that within a 10-mile radius of us, there’s 10 or 12 schools that have vocational programs in high school. To expose them so they know it’s not dingy, dirty factories. We got a couple job apps, which was great, but really the partnership with the community is what we were looking for.”