Students tour factory for Manufacturing Day

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published October 7, 2016

 In honor of Manufacturing Day Oct. 7, Joe Martin, a member of the layout department at Futuramic, an aerospace design, fabrication and welding company in Detroit, takes several high school students from the Golightly Technical Center and Davis Aerospace School on a tour of the company’s factory floor.

In honor of Manufacturing Day Oct. 7, Joe Martin, a member of the layout department at Futuramic, an aerospace design, fabrication and welding company in Detroit, takes several high school students from the Golightly Technical Center and Davis Aerospace School on a tour of the company’s factory floor.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

When people think of manufacturing jobs, they might think of dark, foreboding factories that offer little except poor-paying manual labor jobs. However, there are those who are trying to show the world that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

This attitude is what led to the creation of Manufacturing Day, which takes place Oct. 7. It is a national effort to celebrate American manufacturing and inspire future generations to pursue jobs that make everything from machine parts to military aircraft. In Detroit, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson joined some of the city’s youth on a tour of Futuramic, an aerospace design, fabrication and welding company.

“This is a week where we let the country know how important manufacturing is to our economy and our ability to survive as a nation,” explained Futuramic Vice President John Couch. “We also use this as an opportunity to show kids, like those here today, there are fields they should really look at for a career.”

The students toured the factory to examine the equipment as it was being used, while staff members explained what they were doing.

Futuramic uses materials such as steel, aluminum and Invar to create products such as scaffolding, tools, assembly pieces and fixtures. However, it also creates portions of various aircraft, including the Boeing 777, as well as components used on NASA rockets. The company, as well as school administrators and politicians like Peters, wanted to show young people that not only are there good jobs in manufacturing, but there are companies doing cutting-edge work right down the street.

“I hope the kids take away that manufacturing is cool, it’s a good industry and it’s a strong path for their futures,” Peters said. “Futuramic is making pieces for the SLS rocket, which will take us back to the moon and put a person on Mars in the next 20 years. This is a business involved in high-tech, precision manufacturing right here in Detroit. They are a great example for Manufacturing Day, because they show it’s not just about cars, it’s also about rocket ships.”

The Detroit Public Schools students who took part in the tour were from the Golightly Career and Technical Center, the Davis Aerospace Technical High School and the A.L. Holmes Elementary-Middle School. More than 100 students took part in the tours, and most seemed impressed that this sort of work was being done just off of Eight Mile Road, near Groesbeck.

“We rarely get to go on field trips, and this was really interesting and educational,” said 10th-grader Dikea Seaton.

“I want to go into this field and be an electrical engineer,” said 11th-grader Christian Griffin. “I always had an interest in electronics, and they had some great stuff to see here today.”

Peters and Benson both spoke to the students to encourage them to go into a field that they said would not only be good for the country, but be beneficial to their futures as well.

“We are looking for people who are creative, like a challenge and want to do something interesting,” Peters said as he spoke to the students. “This can be a great path for any of you to build a career on.”

The staff who took part in the tour were happy to show the students around and hoped Manufacturing Day would lead to an increase in interest in the field and serve as a means to show others that factories are in no way a “fall-back job,” but a meaningful and fascinating career path.

“I think there’s a stigma about manufacturing that says it’s tedious, boring and repetitive, but I have fun here,” said Futuramic employee Joe Martin, who led several of the students on the factory tour. “You’ll never know what you can get out of a job like this. There’s so many different parts of manufacturing to go into. There’s something for everybody.”