Communities Celebrate Manufacturing Day
While the highlight of October for many falls on the last day of the month with Halloween, the first Friday is arguably even more significant. That’s when Manufacturing Day is celebrated, to highlight the role of manufacturing careers in building a strong economy.
Organized nationally by The Manufacturing Institute, the importance of manufacturing is not lost on officials in Volusia and St. Johns counties.
“For us it is such a big deal that we celebrate manufacturing during the entire month of October,” said Jayne Fifer, president emeritus of the Volusia Manufacturers Association. And current director of education for the organization.
Fifer said several local governments are issuing proclamations for Manufacturing Day, including New Smyrna Beach and Volusia County.
With an entire month to fill, Fifer said the organization has a lot going on in October.
“We have one of the coolest things we’ve ever done,” she said. “We made a deck of cards and we had 43 of the companies submit graphics.”
Fifer said the cards include information about the companies and VMA plans on distributing them throughout the area.
Also on tap is the Robot Brawl on Oct. 14 at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach. Fifer said the event includes a visit from Volusia Schools’ new STEM bus and other family-friendly offerings and she expects a large crowd.
“We want to pack the Jack,” she said.
Fifer said all of the events are designed to highlight the job opportunities manufacturing offers, from line workers to high-tech fields and back office operations.
“Manufacturing is the backbone of our community,” she said. “It represents about 5% of the gross domestic product in the county, which matches with the state and it’s a very diverse manufacturing community.” She said in Volusia and Flagler counties about 12,000 people are employed in manufacturing jobs.
Attracting new manufacturing enterprises and maintaining the manufacturing base is also important to St. Johns County officials. And that makes Manufacturing Day a celebration worth noting.
“National Manufacturing Day celebrates those who proudly stand behind our goods and services in America,” said county spokesman Wayne Larson. “And for us here in our community, it is those who create products in St. Johns County. We are continually seeking opportunities to secure new companies and new technologies in our growing our economy. We are aware that manufacturing businesses create jobs and improve the overall economics of a community. The St. Johns County economic development efforts continue to evolve with exciting elevations of growth and gains.”
Larson said an example of that effort is the recent decision by county commissioners to rework an economic development incentive package for an advanced manufacturing project code-named Project Krew.
The health and life sciences company would bring 400 new jobs to the county and $26 million in salaries.