IE Manufacturers Discuss The Future of Manufacturing with Educators

Manufacturers Discuss The Future of Manufacturing at Regional Meeting with Educators

Riverside, CA – As the need for skilled manufacturers’ rises in the Inland Empire, employers look to future generations. On Friday, September 22nd, regional manufacturers met with top school administrators and stakeholders, at the Mission Inn in Riverside, to discuss building a K-16 pipeline for apprenticeships and jobs in the region. The event was co-sponsored by the Manufacturer’s Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE) and Alan Braggins, Deputy Sector Navigator for Advanced Manufacturing in the Inland Empire/Desert Region.

Manufacturers wanted to inform educators about their specific needs in the industry, as well as learn what options exist in hopes of finding and retaining already existent talent.

Rod Hoover, Manager Human Relations, California Steel Industries (CSI) in Fontana, presented a list of problems that businesses frequently see with potential hiring candidates who are recent high school graduates. The list was recently compiled with input from over 100 HR professionals in the Manufacturing and Distribution/Logistics fields. It cited lack of preparation for the interview, inappropriate dress and language usage, and lack of school activities and clubs or hobbies that would have provided some experience applicable to the job they were applying for. The complete list can be seen here – “Jobs Checklist For Entering The Workforce.”

“Manufacturers, in the Inland Empire need skilled applicants and employees,” stated Hoover. “Vocational training should in elementary school, as a part of STEM programs, to give both college and non-college bound students the desire to pursue good, paying and needed careers in manufacturing.”

Judy Lopez, President of Microdyne Plastics in Colton, talked about the difficulty of finding people trained in particular machining skills, and how they were force to out-source for these tasks. Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations, California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA), Sacramento, spoke on funding for training at the state and federal levels.

ideas and solutions for educators and manufacturersBill Rayl, President and Executive Director of the Jackson Manufacturing Association (JAMA) in Jackson, Michigan presented several ideas and solutions for educators and manufacturers. He explained how after-school programs, summer camps, and in-school learning opportunities, starting as early as kindergarten, helped Jackson students imagine themselves as future manufacturers, engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs, which encouraged those students to pursue future careers in the industry.

In 2005, JAMA launched the Academy for Manufacturing Careers (AMC), with skilled trades related technical instruction and customized training programs designed by manufacturers. Each summer they host a number of K-12 camp programs including: “I Can Make It Camp,” and “Machining U.”

Braggins led an open discussion forum for an exchange of programs already in place or under development for meeting these needs in our region.

“National Manufacturing Day showcases manufacturing to students to let them connect with manufacturers and learn about what advanced manufacturing jobs look like,” stated Molly Burgess, Executive Director of the MCIE. “This year, on Friday, October 6th, 1200 students will learn more about manufacturing at the InTech Training Center in Fontana. We want to tell the community that manufacturing isn’t about dirty job anymore. With advanced manufacturing 3-D printing and robotics, a lot of kids, who like to work with their hands, might be attracted to this career.”

For more information on manufacturing events, visit

The Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE) supports and provides education on manufacturing topics to manufacturers, employees, students, and the community. The Council provides a strong, unified voice when communicating with regional, state and national entities on issues impacting the region. Programming is designed to help manufacturers find solutions for issues including: employment and training, research, regulatory compliance, import and export, and funding.


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