Marking its third year as a member of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) and Manufacturing Institute’s (MI) “Dream It. Do It.” program, Cooper Tire will connect with more than 10,000 students – primarily eighth graders – for Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) events throughout October. Cooper will focus on the communities where the company has major facilities in Findlay, Ohio; Texarkana, Arkansas and Tupelo, Mississippi. In addition to participating in community-wide efforts, the company will host its own Cooper Manufacturing Experience events. These interactive, hands-on events have been planned by the company’s “Dream Team,” a group of 40 employees from across Cooper who work with students and others all year long in efforts to educate and improve the image of careers in manufacturing to help strengthen the future workforce pipeline.
“Manufacturing is technology driven, fast-paced and offers exciting career opportunities, but it can be challenging to attract employees. Many students today are not focused on careers in manufacturing and, unfortunately, great jobs go unfilled,” said John Bollman, Cooper’s senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “Cooper is working to attract students to manufacturing careers by giving young people hands-on experience that mimics what it’s like to work in the tire industry. Over the past several years we have reached nearly 30,000 students through these events, and we hope as they think about a career path in the future they will consider jobs in manufacturing and some of the great opportunities available at Cooper.”
According to a nationwide survey commissioned by NAM in 2016, 89 percent of students participating in MFG Day events felt more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities, and 64 percent reported being more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing. This is increasingly important as over the next decade it is estimated that nearly 3.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will be needed and 2 million of those jobs are expected to go unfilled due to manufacturers’ challenge to find talent with the required skills.
Abbey Kindler, senior engineering technician for Cooper Tire’s Global Technical Center, said, “I joined Cooper’s Dream Team because I have found an amazing career in manufacturing, and I want to show young people there is so much more to the industry than meets the eye. Through this experience I am able to share my career path, answer questions and debunk myths about working in the industry. It is important that students, as well as their parents and teachers, are shown the wide array of possibilities offered through manufacturing. It can truly be the ticket to a rewarding career.”
While MFG Day is officially Oct. 6 this year, the Cooper Manufacturing Experience will be offered to students throughout the month of October.