National Manufacturing Day Consortium 2013 Recap

DMS CNC Routers Manufacturing Day Blog Recap Last Friday, October 4th was National Manufacturing Day ( which was a significant awareness effort to show through social media and regional events the importance of manufacturing in the U.S. and manufacturers like DMS were out in full force.


MFG DAY addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together during and after MFG DAY, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. – Quoted from DMS chose to participate not just on Friday but all week. This is a big deal to us. In Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College hosted the Pikes Peak Manufacturing Consortium – read the full press release here: The Consortium consisted of Tuesday with the Pikes Peak Manufacturing Forum, Wednesday held the Pikes Peak Student Manufacturing Awareness & Career Expo and on Thursday was the Pikes Peak Workforce Job Fair. We participated in all three events but below are our notes from the invite-only Forum that we found really interesting. (As a side note, our Pikes Peak Community College interns participated with us on Wednesday. Read about that here!).


State Representatives, John Wilson & Lois Landgraf spoke on the manufacturing environment even in thriving Colorado. State Representative Lois Landgraf began the Forum. Her leading points were that:

  1. There is still a lack of qualified applicant for open manufacturing positions.
  2. Even with a high 7% unemployment rate because of the wage gap, there are still employment vacancies.
  3. Representative Wilson’s Manufacturing Pathways bill passed with wide bi-partisan support was a great first step. Bill 1165 was passed to design a career pathway for Colorado’s manufacturing industry.

State Representative John Wilson followed her with 5 key points of what this new Bill has:

  1. Align all these skills necessary
  2. Clearly articulated progression through that process
  3. Technical skills assessment
  4. Counselor resources to look at the careers available
  5. Instructional and curriculum strategies that tie together curriculum and work

He also mentioned that there’s another upcoming Bill  – To allow 2 year colleges to grant 4 year degrees in applied sciences! Further thoughts from Rep. Wilson & Rep. Landgraf:

  1. We have 7% unemployment and manufacturers that can’t fill their open positions.
  2. Want to focus on community colleges and small businesses and larger businesses if they’re interested.
  3. Use state-funded grants and the GI Bill and funding from small businesses will cover 2-4 year on-the-job training. This is the final key if we combine Wilson’s 2 bills, they’ll be educated and then they’ll go into the workforce and get the training that they’re lacking now.

This program is called CHAMP – Colorado Helping Advanced Manufacturing Program. (Read about the almost $25M grant that Colorado just was awarded for this program in the press release at the beginning of the blog post!) . . . Craig Jack – CEO,  RMB Products A bit of background about what RMB Products produces:

  • Aerospace – Rotationally molded  HVAC ducting, protective hostings and fluid containment
  • Chemical – Rotationally lined flow meters, columns, pump housings and pipe details
  • Semiconductor – Wet processing vessels, chemical delivery systems and containment vessels from inert thermoplastics
  • Biopharmaceutical – Intermediate drug storage containers and chemically-resistant mixing vessels

Their company has deep materials expertise, design & engineering, tooling & metal fabrication, roto-molding, and roto-lining. RMB is struggling finding: Mechanical engineers, manual machinists/tool makers, CNC machine operators, CNC machine programmers, skilled quality control inspectors, skilled plastic welder/fabricators, and metal welders. The Challenge with hiring in the past and now:

  1. Had to engage expensive recruiters
  2. Recruiting from out of state is the norm
  3. Not “Joe the Plumber” not “Tool Time Tim’” but Tim the Toolmaker – no one to replace him!
  4. We need to build the talent pool.

Possible Solutions:

  1. Partnering with the Military
  2. Education
  3. On the Job Training / Apprenticeship
  4. Marquee Manufacturer (bringing in some larger manufacturers to Colorado)

Partner with the Military:

  1. Find positions for skilled people with the aptitude and desire – used to teams, taking direction & leading others
  2. Conflict with their expectations – level of responsibility and pay
  3. Ideal for machinists, machine programmers, welders and skilled manufacturing positions
  4. Also ideal for manufacturing supervision – but need training & transition time


  1. Does everybody really need to go to a 4 year college?
  2. It’s inconsistent with the national goal to reinvigorate US manufacturing
  3. Debt load and payback
  4. Getting educational credit for relevant experience doesn’t help

Solution 1 – Build the Talent Pool

  • An Apprenticeship program
  • Call it something else for skilled military workers
  • Wish list – state sponsored wage support for the first 3 years (companies can’t afford to take the risk)
  • Focus on small business
  • Focus on manual machinists, CNC machine operators and CNC machine programmers
  • Thanks to Lois Landgraf, Jim Kynor and Lance Bolton

Solution 2 – Marquee Manufacturer

  • Benchmark with South Carolina and Alabama – Auto and Commercial Aircraft Industry
  • Strong alliance with state education system – pool of educated and trained workers
  • Training Grants
  • The Halo Effect

. . . Rob Daugherty – James Irwin Trade Academy & Charter School | Office: 719.302.9025 James Irwin Charter School is building a Trade Academy to open August 2014. About the Charter School:

  • 1,600 students K-12 – College Prep Academy
  • Believe also in sending kids out to work
  • Begin this pipeline as early as 6th grade

Trade Academy: Opening August 2014

  • Grade 6 – 12
  • Traditional Curriculum
  • Trade Courses
  • 6th & 7th Grade – Industrial arts
  • 7th – woodshop & construction
  • 8th – metal shop
  • 9th – manufacturing
  • 10th – mechanical systems

Junior & Senior Tracks:

  • Carpentry, electrical and plumbing ->  construction tracks
  • Preparing them for the best entry level hires
  • Welding and machining -> manufacturing tracks
  • Have kids that’ll learn faster than if they hadn’t gone through this program
  • This is how you get an employee pipeline!

He shared some interesting stats with us.

  1. One third of the workforce over the age of 50. (National Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  2. In CO, 49% of workforce is 45 years or older and 18% is older than 55
  3. CO, ranks 15th in the nation for highest median hourly wage in the trades.
  4. For every 3 tradesmen that retire, only one is trained to perform that work
  5. In 2012, 600K manufacturing jobs went unfilled in the US.
  6. Schools are systematically removing shop classes from schools. – Forbes

. . . Julie Rife – Program Assistant in the High School Programs Office –  PPCC Skills USA Julie sold the manufacturing community in Colorado Springs that she’s happy to provide resources for students to come and see what we’re doing. In this program, there are leadership training opportunities that through our help can be further available to our community’s students. The Skills USA Contest is coming to PPCC – specifically for welding and machining and rapid prototyping – stay tuned! . . . Tom Bugnitz – CEO, CAMT – Colorado Association of Manufacturing & Technology CAMT is a manufacturing extension partner – partially funded by the Department of Commerce. Soon they’ll be announcing the Manufacturer’s Resource Tool Update – Create a way for manufacturers to connect with other manufacturers in Colorado. Today’s Manufacturing Challenges:

  1. The goal is to help Colorado Companies Find Colorado Suppliers
  2. Find alternate suppliers in Colorado, alert buyers of capabilities and gaps in supply chain

Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda He encouraged all of us to leave this Forum and go do something! In the marketplace, he sees that there’s this idea of competition. Get over yourself, he says. Why are we competing? There’s no competition. We need to work together. CAMT’s contact info: Cindy Nowak Tom Bugnitz 303.998.0303 . . . James Kynor, Associate Dean of Manufacturing, Workforce & CTE – Pikes Peak Community College Colorado just won an almost $25M grant! Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program – CHAMP Grant The Purpose of this Grant: Provides community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in 2 years or less. (Accelerated programs) Target Populations:

  1. Suited for workers who are eligible for the TAA for Workers Program
  2. Can you address the needs of veterans?

Needed Employer Engagement in the areas of:

  1. Curriculum design
  2. Advisory Committees
  3. Adjunct instructors

Employer Sponsored Training Models:

  1. Opportunity to apply skills in a practical employment setting
  2. Apprenticeship and on-the-job training

Goal is to integrate their CAD, Electronics and Machining – blend them so they have that overlap and develop better applicants for the job market. Then, incorporate needed soft and transferable skills for the PPWC (Pikes Peak Workforce Center). Awarded Amounts:

  • Colorado received $24.9 million!
  • Pikes Peak Community College’s portion is $2.3 million!
  • Grant runs for 4 years
  • Hiring Adjuncts, Full-time Instructors and Equipment

. . . Debbie Sagen, Director of Extended Learning – Pikes Peak Community College There is now customized training for you – your Career development programs that don’t involve credit Manage the Colorado First/Existing Industry Program New grants begin each July – helps to fund existing training for newly hired or existing hires The competitive cycle has concluded for this year. The training need for this program was so great that we spent $1.7M in the first quarter. We want to try to get the training fund. Ask how this grant can help fund our training needs. . . . Linda Johnson – Pikes Peak Workforce Center Post all of your open positions at Connecting Colorado: As employers, we can go in and post them myself or email them directly to the office. That helps show the need for training programs and hiring, especially for all the programs that are going on now. OTJ Program – Bring a worker into their workforce and train them to be productive. Pikes Peak Workforce Center is able to reimburse the employer a percentage of their wages to get them up to that level! Looking to ask the manufacturers to give tours for the youth. DMS has already agreed to make this available.   . . .


We went on to have a full day at Wednesday’s Pikes Peak Student Manufacturing Awareness & Career Expo and Friday’s Pikes Peak Workforce Center Job Fair was incredibly busy as well! We got some great applicants to our open positions. You can check back regularly for positions that are open on our Employment Opportunities page.

Manufacturing Day 2013 saw (from MFG Day’s website)
  • Over 800 manufacturers host events
  • Thousands of students and other visitors get a glimpse of manufacturing in their neighborhoods
  • Dozens of community leaders declare their support for MFG DAY and for manufacturers

What was your MFG Day Story? Share it in the comments section below! Don’t stop reading now. Keep reading on at our DMS Blog or our CNC News.Post .

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