Manufacturing Month Events Encourage Student Interest, Investment in NE

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Manufacturing Month Events Encourage Student Interest, Investment in NE

OCTOBER 16, 2017 (LINCOLN, NEB.)— Today, Governor Pete Ricketts continued to promote Manufacturing Month by visiting two businesses in central Nebraska. The Governor’s tour of Becton Dickinson in Holdrege and Royal Engineered Composites in Minden followed a 10-community tour this month to celebrate businesses within the industry. Department of Economic Development (DED) Director Courtney Dentlinger and State Chamber President Barry Kennedy joined the Governor on tours of several businesses during the first week of October.

Last week, Gov. Ricketts, Director Dentlinger and Kennedy participated in the Nebraska State Chamber’s 2017 Manufacturing Summit in Omaha. The State Chamber’s summit featured a discussion on manufacturing issues regarding trade, technology and workforce solutions. Later, Gov. Ricketts and Director Dentlinger toured Omaha’s Metro Area Mobile Manufacturing Expo (M3E), a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) mobile trailer. The trailer was created through funding from Nebraska’s Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI), created to expose 7th and 8th grade students to the state’s manufacturing and technology sectors. Students began working with the trailer in 2017, and community events also displayed the trailer to expose adults to potential Nebraska manufacturing careers.

In 2016, Distefano Technology & Manufacturing earned DYTI funding, which included a partnership with Omaha Public Schools and a consortium of area businesses. In addition to the M3E trailer, the program implemented new curriculum for junior high students for training in robotics and welding. Businesses included in the program’s consortium with Distefano included Brand Hydraulics Co., Conductix-Wampfler, Drake-Williams Steel, NECO, Nebraska Machinery Company, Oxbow Animal Health, Tri-V Tool and Manufacturing and Valmont.

Distefano hosted more than 40 students for Manufacturing Day events on October 6th; Last Thursday, Gov. Ricketts toured the facility. Company leaders shared successes about students’ growing interest in manufacturing as a result of DYTI funding. Gov. Ricketts also learned more about the company’s 12-week welding school, which is a collaboration between Distefano and Metropolitan Community College.

“Engaging Nebraska’s youth during Manufacturing Month compliments our DYTI partnership with OPS to help students build the skills and confidence they need to get hired – and succeed – in this industry,” said Distefano VP and General Manager Brian Turner. “Collaboration with our schools is an essential part of this process; business consortiums in the program spent nearly 100 hours with educators to develop the program for these students. As a result, nearly 30 percent of 7th and 8th graders who completed the program said their knowledge about the manufacturing industry had grown.”

Prior to the Governor’s tour today, Royal Engineered Composites hosted high school students, administration and staff from Minden Public Schools to celebrate Manufacturing Month. Over the past several years, Nebraska native and company president Dave Arnold worked with DED to utilize the agency’s InternNE program. Since 2013, the company has received $41,000 in grants to fill eight internship positions in Royal’s engineering, computer aid design, computer numerical control and supply chain management departments. In 2013, Royal permanently hired one of its interns from Central Community College. Since then, the company has hired three interns for full-time employment. Arnold says Manufacturing Month provides the company with an additional opportunity to connect young people to industry jobs in, which encourages an ongoing investment in Nebraska’s workforce.

“Working in Nebraska’s Manufacturing sector has provided a unique perspective about what this industry means to our skilled workers and communities,” Arnold said. “Every year, I learn more about the industry and am continually blown away by all of the interesting and unique manufacturers across Nebraska. Our team at Royal is proud to be part of Manufacturing Month, and we appreciate the opportunity to introduce students to the technology and processes we use to build composite structures for the aerospace industry.”

Gov. Ricketts declared October as Manufacturing Month in Nebraska in coordination with National Manufacturing Day on October 6th. This year, business leaders are focusing on month-long opportunities to expose young people to developments in the industry through company tours for students and educators.

For more information about Manufacturing Month in Nebraska, contact Lynn Kohout, DED Business Development Consultant and NeMAC coordinator, at 402-440-2599, or lynn.kohout@nebraska.gov.