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6th annual Manufacturing Day sparks interest in area students

As older generations leave the workforce, facilities are working to fill the gap with students eager to get their hands dirty.

Posted: Oct 7, 2021 3:06 PM
Updated: Oct 8, 2021 9:44 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Thursday, St. Joseph's manufacturing hubs lit the path forward for future generations. 

Nearly 500 students from 18 schools across Northwest Missouri participated in the 6th annual Manufacturing Day. The national event was put together by the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, local manufacturing facilities and Hillyard Technical Center. 

After COVID-19 forced the event to go virtual last year, students enrolled at Hillyard Technical Center got to spend their day touring the city's biggest and brightest facilities to see what a career in manufacturing could look like. 

“Yeah, it’s absolutely an exciting day getting to show high school students here at Altec all the different possibilities for career choices that we have,” said Jonathan Arens, General Manager of Altec Industries Midwest Campus. 

Area students toured Altec Industries along with seven other facilities: BlueScope Buildings North America, BMS Logistics, Daily's Premium Meats, Herzog Contracting Corp., Summit Truck Group, Triumph Foods and Van-Am Tool & Engineering, LLC. 

Altec offered guided tours to interested students, hoping to spark their interest and start recruiting the future of St. Joseph manufacturing.

"There’s a huge range of career opportunities from welding to assembling and then some professional items as well with engineering and procurement. It highlights all of the different opportunities we have in this community,” said Arens. 

For students like Larsyn Philippe, a junior at Bishop LeBlond enrolled in automotive courses at Hillyard, manufacturing day is more than just a field trip. He said it's an opportunity to see a life outside high school. 

“It intrigues me because working on cars is just something I have always been interested in, probably for the past five years,” said Philippe. 

As older generations leave the workforce, facilities are working to fill the gap with students eager to get their hands dirty. 

"We absolutely do because students going through don't exactly know what their options are," said Arens, "Some are wanting to go on to get a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorates degree, but others want a job right out of high school and we have options for both paths."

According to SmartAsset, St. Joseph ranks number one in "Best Places to Work in Manufacturing- 2020 Edition," in the country.

Altec will hold a career fair on October 16th from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. 

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