This week, the Creators Wanted Tour Live made its eighth national tour stop—at Walmart’s 9th annual open call for entrepreneurs and manufacturers.
Drawing a crowd: On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Creators Wanted mobile experience was onsite in Bentonville, Arkansas, as 1,100 small and medium-sized business owners pitched their products to Walmart and Sam’s Club for Walmart’s Open Call 2022. The ultimate prize for the business owners? A “gold ticket” to get their products into the stores.
- The two-day Creators Wanted stop drew more than 2,000 people, many of whom jumped at the opportunity to solve puzzles and “race to the future” in the award-winning, immersive escape room.
- In addition to Walmart, Chart Industries, a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered equipment servicing multiple applications in clean energy and industrial gas markets, helped bring the experience to Open Call attendees and the Bentonville community.
- The tour, which aims to generate interest in and excitement about manufacturing careers, is a joint project of the NAM and its workforce development and education partner The Manufacturing Institute.
Committed to manufacturing: The aim of bringing Creators Wanted to this year’s Open Call was to bolster the positive perception of modern manufacturing careers, recruit new manufacturers and connect entrepreneurs and manufacturers with the MI’s workforce-shortage solutions.
- Walmart has committed to spending $350 billion on products made, grown or assembled in the U.S., in addition to the $250 billion the company pledged in 2013 to spend on similar products.
- Total estimated job growth from these investments: 750,000 new American positions by 2031.
Who was there: MI President Carolyn Lee and Vice President of Program Execution Herb Grant were on hand to give manufacturers greater insight into the MI’s growing set of solutions to the dearth of skilled manufacturing labor.
- Also onsite was new Creators Wanted partner FactoryFix, whose team members helped attendee manufacturers source new talent for their businesses and taught job seekers how to build rewarding careers in the industry.
The reaction: “Wherever we go with our Creators Wanted Tour—including here in Bentonville, Arkansas—students, parents, career mentors and even professionals in other industries see what manufacturing can mean and create for futures,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas. “It’s showing there’s dignity, a “cool” factor and massive reward in making things in the United States. Eyes light up.”
The reach: On the second day of the event, more than 3,000 students had already signed up online to learn more about modern manufacturing careers.
Up next: Coinciding with the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on the LPGA tour, the Creators Wanted Tour Live will make its ninth stop in Midland, Michigan, July 13–16.
This story was originally published on June 30, 2022, in Input, the National Association of Manufacturers’ morning newsletter for manufacturing executives.