Macomb Intermediate School District career and technical education consultant Shannon Williams addresses school officials and manufacturing representatives during the Manufacturing Day kickoff breakfast Sept. 20 at the MISD building in Clinton Township.

Macomb Intermediate School District career and technical education consultant Shannon Williams addresses school officials and manufacturing representatives during the Manufacturing Day kickoff breakfast Sept. 20 at the MISD building in Clinton Township.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Local school officials, businesses gear up for Manufacturing Day

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published September 21, 2018

 Marcus Stackpoole and Alyssa Stackpoole, of Synergy Prototype Stamping, attend the Manufacturing Day kickoff breakfast.

Marcus Stackpoole and Alyssa Stackpoole, of Synergy Prototype Stamping, attend the Manufacturing Day kickoff breakfast.

Photo by Donna Agusti

MACOMB COUNTY — On Oct. 5, more than 70 Macomb County businesses will open up their doors to high school students from the county’s 21 school districts for Manufacturing Day.

Manufacturing Day is designed to inspire the next generation of manufacturers who can build, mass produce, assemble and more. Students will tour the facilities and view firsthand what types of career opportunities are available in a variety of manufacturing fields.

Such professions include jobs in automation, welding, fabrication, automotive, computer numerical control, machine tool programming, and as computer user support specialists, electricians, tool and die makers, and more. More than 2,500 high school students are expected to attend this year’s event.

To help better prepare for Manufacturing Day, organizers held a kickoff breakfast for businesses and school officials on Sept. 20 at the Macomb Intermediate School District building.

MISD Superintendent Mike DeVault, MISD career and technical education consultant Shannon Williams, and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel were among those in attendance who provided remarks.

“You are providing kids an opportunity,” Hackel said. “Some kids don’t know what they want to do, but you are helping them. On behalf of the kids in Macomb County, thank you for allowing this to happen.”

There has been a focus on manufacturing education among high school students in recent years. For many years, students were not encouraged to pursue careers in the field. According to Maria Zardis, manager of communications and marketing for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development, who also spoke at the breakfast, there was a misconception that manufacturing jobs were low paying and the factories were dirty.

But that attitude has changed as business owners are looking for skilled tradespeople. According to event organizers, a tool and die maker, for instance, can earn $54,200 annually. As another example provided, electricians can make $57,920 per year.

In addition, many current skilled trades professionals will eventually retire, and businesses will be ready for a new crop of hardworking employees to fill their shoes. Because of that, the county held its first Manufacturing Day in 2013.

Every year since, students have been bused to local manufacturing companies to spend the day learning about the businesses and what jobs might appeal to them. A handful of breakfast attendees raised their hands when asked by Zardis if they garnered any new employees as a result of past Manufacturing Day visits.

At the breakfast, Dorota Arszylo, human resource generalist for Brose Jefferson in Warren, and Jodi Kade, human resource coordinator for Paslin in Warren, provided tips to business owners about how to have a successful Manufacturing Day.

Van Dyke Public Schools Superintendent Piper Bognar, Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium instructor and co-op coordinator Fred Cook, and Lincoln High School counselor Martha Hoffman were among many school officials at the breakfast.

SMTEC provides career technical education to students who attend Lincoln, Warren Woods Tower, Fitzgerald and Center Line high schools. Students are bused between the schools to attend class in a variety of subjects.

The LHS students will visit Eifel Mold and Engineering in Fraser on Manufacturing Day.

“We want our students to learn about career options and see some things they might be able to do. It’s such a unique opportunity,” Bognar said. “We’re trying to expose the students to a multitude of careers.”