Sites and Sounds from Manufacturing Day 2015
For the second year in a row, we were the only Contra Costa County manufacturer to open its doors for tours and hands-on demonstrations that highlight the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy and showcase the rewarding, highly skilled jobs available in manufacturing fields.

While the goal of this event is vital - to give manufacturers the opportunity to open their doors to the public and address the skilled labor shortage in our industry – the reality is that it’s also a ton of fun for all of us at Bishop-Wisecarver! We look forward to hosting the high school students, teachers, parents and community members that come to our Pittsburg, Calif. site for a close up look at the realities of today’s modern manufacturing world. Visitors are always amazed at the clean, efficient and highly technical aspects of the manufacturing industry – so different from their perceived ideas of dark, dirty conditions with monotonous jobs.

Sam Richards, Contra Costa Times reporter, joined us for the morning session and wrote a great article that includes student quotes and photos. We also promoted the event through social media. Check out #manufacturingdaybwg15 for more BWG photos and #MFGDAY to see the national discussion.

One group of high school students walked more than a mile to participate and their efforts were rewarded. Many of them didn’t realize manufacturing is a career opportunity that desperately needs new workers. By talking with them now, the students can more easily determine, and plan, their educational path to work in this industry. From high school diplomas to technical certificates, 2 to 4 year degrees and graduate level studies – manufacturing needs them all.

And we get to emphasize even more good news – the average salary in manufacturing is $77K per year, healthcare benefits are the norm and there are approximately 12,000 manufacturing jobs to be filled just in our East Bay region in the next 5 years. In fact, the average manufacturing worker made nearly 11 percent more than a comparable worker outside the manufacturing sector in 2012 and 2013.

In addition to those great benefits, we highlight this industry as an option for both genders. While only 27% of the current manufacturing workforce is female, that number is much higher than 10 years ago and is expected to increase. In my unique role as a female president of a manufacturing company, I am honored to serve on a variety of local, state, and national level organizations that help encourage young girls and women to be successful in this industry.

I’m also passionate about STEM education. It plays an important role in helping young girls recognize they are interested and gifted in these areas and to pursue educational and career paths in the fields of science, technology, engineering and manufacturing. As we host MFG DAY, we are seeing more girls than ever who have joined (and lead!) robotics clubs, consider science their favorite subject and plan on pursuing degrees and careers in the STEM fields.

Our team is already planning for next year’s Manufacturing Day event and we can’t wait to hear the questions and comments. Hosting an event that helps students, benefits our industry and is fun at the same time is always something to look forward to.