October is a critical month for Conexus Indiana as we work to celebrate the manufacturing industry through celebratory events that begin with Manufacturing Day on October 4 and continue through the month. It’s an opportunity to open manufacturing facilities to students, educators and parents to show all that the industry has to offer in Indiana.

As many of our stakeholders already know, Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the country and more than a third of the state’s GDP comes from the industry. But it is expected that nearly a quarter of the current manufacturing workforce will be of retirement age in the next 10 years and we lack the generational workforce to make up that gap.

One of our goals is to fight this gap by encouraging the workforce of tomorrow to consider a career in this innovative industry. Unfortunately, startling new research shows that industry perception among the most important influencers of the future workforce, Hoosier parents, is alarmingly low.

Conexus Indiana partnered with BBC Research & Consulting to survey parents of young adults in Indiana. The research revealed that:

  • Only a third of Hoosier parents are familiar with the manufacturing industry in Indiana.
  • Of parents who are unfamiliar, 83 percent said they found manufacturing an undesirable career pathway for their child.
  • When asked what career attributes parents looked for in a good career for their child, more than 60 percent selected the ability to earn a comfortable living as the most important work opportunity.
  • But few were able to accurately determine that the average salary for someone working in manufacturing is over $77,000 annually. More than 80 percent underestimate the average.

Here’s a one-page summary we’ve prepared to give you a glimpse at the findings: Summary

Here’s a link to the full research report: Full Report

The good news is that Manufacturing Day is one of the most effective ways to convince parents and students of the benefits advanced manufacturing provides since it gives them hands-on experience at manufacturing facilities and a glimpse into what the day-to-day of a manufacturing career could look like.

In 2018, more than 267,000 students across the country attended Manufacturing Day events and were able to experience innovative technologies like AI and IoT that make up modern manufacturing. These visits are shown to have real impact: of the students who attended in 2018, 84 percent were more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding and 64 percent were motivated to pursue a manufacturing career. This year, more than 160 events are planned in Indiana.

For those who still want to participate, here are a few opportunities:

  • Manufacturers: host your own event or partner on an existing event at MFGDay.com
  • Students, educators and parents: visit MFGDay.com to find an event near you to attend and experience Indiana’s modern manufacturing ecosystem.

If you are already hosting, sponsoring or otherwise supporting an event, here’s a toolkit of resources we put together, including:

  • A template op-ed to use in your local media outlets
  • Social media posts and graphics
  • Fact sheet about our survey of Hoosier parents

Manufacturing Day is an investment in the workforce of tomorrow, and we owe it to the future of the Hoosier state to engage in this important work.