Providing resources for communities and entrepreneurs to create and retain jobs in Antrim, Charlevoix & Cheboygan Counties.

Students Explore Local Manufacturers & In-Demand Careers

Northern Lakes Economic Alliance •  •

Carly Bortz, Administrative/Communications Assistant

Jervis Webb, Harbor Springs

500 students from 10 schools toured 19 manufacturing companies in Charlevoix and Emmet Counties as a part of the local initiative to celebrate National Manufacturing Day during the week of November 5-9, 2018.

This was the first time that Northern Michigan schools and companies came together to be a part of the national event. Manufacturing Day is a national effort to promote manufacturing jobs to students as a post-secondary career path option and to create awareness about the important role of manufacturers in communities.

High School students and 8th graders from various schools throughout Charlevoix and Emmet counties discovered great opportunities for employment at industry-leading, manufacturing facilities right in their own backyard that they didn’t know were available. Each school toured manufacturing facilities in the community they were located in; next year the local team hopes to include more schools and manufacturers in Antrim and Cheboygan counties in the events.

Industrial Magnetics Inc., Boyne City

Participating manufacturers included: Industrial Magnetics Inc., Lexamar, Precision Edge, ACAT, Harbor Industries, Wojan, A.L.P., Aster Brands/Redi-Rock, DCL, Michigan Scientific, EJ Visitor Center, East Jordan Plastics, North Central Michigan College (NCMC) mobile CNC Fab Lab, Jervis Webb, Central Industrial, Moeller Aerospace, Petoskey Plastics, Manthei Veneer, and Circuit Controls Corp.

NCMC Mobile Fab Lab, Petoskey

Additionally, the mobile Computer Controlled Design (CNC) and machining Fab Lab at NCMC held tours at East Jordan High School and an open house on campus for students to get hands-on experience understanding CNC training and applicable jobs needing that skill.

Students were introduced to what each company produces and the people who make it happen, some for the first time. Then small groups were guided through the facility to see how everything works and follow a product through its journey from creation to shipment.

A majority of students were more interested in manufacturing companies and employment opportunities after touring the facilities than they were before. Student feedback concluded the event was a success, “We got to see how real jobs worked, not things that aren’t in high demand;” and positive perceptions of area manufacturing increased, “I thought it was really neat how much of an impact companies in the small town of Petoskey have in our everyday world,” said student participants.

East Jordan Plastics, East Jordan

Rarely do manufacturing companies get to share what they do with large groups of students in a hands-on experience. All 19 participating manufacturers appreciated the opportunity to show off what they do, and see genuine interest from students in manufacturing and pursuing skilled trades schooling.

Thanks to the local manufacturing day partners: Local MFG Day partners: Char-Em ISD Career and Technical Education; Boyne, Charlevoix and East Jordan Chambers of Commerce; Northern Lakes Economic Alliance; North Central Michigan College, Michigan Works!; participating manufacturers; and local school districts. Click here to view photos of the event!

Interested in how you can get involved with next year’s events? Contact the NLEA at 231-582-6482 or

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