The National Association of Manufacturers and The Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted campaign took the Creators Wanted Tour Live in 2021 to Ohio, South Carolina, Iowa, North Carolina and Texas–with more than 3,500 attendees and 2,700 students participating in the mobile experience, while building an email roster of more than 150,000 people interested in manufacturing careers.
We’re progressing to the campaign goals of recruiting 600,000 new manufacturers, as well as increasing the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and increasing the positive perception of the industry among parents to 50% from 27%. And we’re just getting started.
As part of Creators Wanted Tour Live 2021, more than 2,700 students had their eyes opened to the possibilities and fun of well-paying modern manufacturing careers-and hundreds of thousands more signed up to be part of the future of manufacturing. But how did this momentum start? Here is part of our story.
NAM Newsroom — As the final 2021 stop on the Creators Wanted Tour Live circuit, Dallas/Fort Worth had quite a few expectations to live up to—and live up to them it did.
Big impact: With more than 1,000 students attending events, participating in panel talks and discussions and “racing to the future” in the Creators Wanted immersive experience, the Dallas/Fort Worth visit of the joint NAM/Manufacturing Institute project designed to inspire and educate the next generation of manufacturers had a very large audience—and a receptive one at that.
“When we first mentioned it to them, they had never heard of Creators Wanted,” said Roberta Woodard, a high school professor at TCC South Collegiate High School in Fort Worth, of her students, who attended the Creators Wanted events. “But they were really excited about obtaining any information that they could to help prepare them for graduation.… These kids have [now] shown a great interest in hopping into the workforce as soon as they graduate.”
A truly hands-on experience: During the four-day tour stop, students, teachers and parents were able to try out numerous activities related to manufacturing, including using the VRTEX virtual reality arc welding training system and piloting drones at the Fort Worth Independent School District’s mobile STEM lab, exploring Vuforia augmented reality by PTC, interacting with displays by, and meeting creators at, Stanley Black & Decker, Cornerstone Building Brands, CRH and Nucor and completing the puzzles and escape-room challenges in the Creators Wanted mobile experience.
The chance to see and feel manufacturing firsthand was a game-changer for many attendees.
“Sometimes it’s hard to teach students from a textbook, or even from online materials,” said Tuan Tran, professor of career and technical education at TCC South Collegiate High School. “And when they see real people here in front of them, talking to them, it gives them a little bit of a peek into what’s possible in the future.”
Family and money: One of the possibilities when it comes to manufacturing careers is the opportunity to make a very comfortable living, and to do so in an environment that values its employees, panelists told Creators Wanted attendees.
“Now more than ever we need people in trades, we need people in the manufacturing industry, so manufacturing companies are starting to pay [what] you’re worth,” Oldcastle Infrastructure Plant Manager Brandon Castillo said during a Creators Wanted panel talk and Q&A session, echoing the findings of a recent joint MI–Deloitte study, which found that if the skills gap continues on the current trajectory, the U.S. will have more than 2 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030.
“For me, it allows me the ability to take my kids to Disneyland or Disney World and just do a bunch of family activities that I’m not sure would be afforded to me if I didn’t choose manufacturing.”
Highlights from the stop: Here is a glance at some of the action:
Crowley High School students watch, mesmerized, as they see the laser engraver—and modern technology—help them unlock the next room of the immersive challenge. More than 74% of students who were skeptical about manufacturing left the experience either very or somewhat interested in learning more about manufacturing careers.
Students from Tarrant County College South hear about the career paths at Stanley Black & Decker.
Students from Young Men’s Leadership Academy listen as Khristopher Kuker, plant manager, Dallas U.S. Windows Plant, Cornerstone Building Brands, lays out potential career paths at the company.
CRH brought crafts to the table, giving students a chance to connect one of its products, Sakrete concrete, with some of the attributes of manufacturing careers.
A student from North Crowley High School reacts to PTC’s augmented reality software.
The “race to the future” had students working together to correctly identify the Honda vehicle from hints “left” inside the immersive experience from design, engineering and testing Honda associates.
On stage, Specialty Packaging President Hank Dorris and his mentee, Brian Wade, emphasize the importance of mentorship to students at Jacquet Middle School. Dorris, whose company makes products for companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Sonic, Chili’s and Wrigley, was personally instrumental in bringing the tour to Fort Worth, marshalling major school districts and key partners to engage as many students as possible.
The social media response: School participants, including Tarrant County College and Kennedale Career & Technical Education, tweeted photos of their students learning about manufacturing careers—and having a blast doing it.
The tally: In addition to more than 1,000 students who joined the tour, the tour stop helped Creators Wanted move beyond 153,000 email signups from students and other individuals interested in manufacturing careers and exceed 138 million digital impressions.
The last word: The Creators Wanted Tour Live had such a positive reception it was invited for an encore. Said Woodard: “You guys rock. Come back and see us.”
What was the collective mood at the premier event of Creators Wanted Tour Live’s fifth stop? Upbeat and excited. In Dallas/Fort Worth Tuesday, before racing to the future in the Creators Wanted mobile experience, students from Tarrant County College and local high schools heard from leaders in education and manufacturing about the industry’s many exciting career opportunities.