Manufacturers statewide will be showcasing careers in their industry to about 8,200 Missouri students tomorrow. Brian Crouse with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says due to COVID-19, the business group is hosting its annual Manufacturing Day event – this time on Zoom and Facebook. The virtual event will feature video tours inside factories to show students how products are made and learn about high-tech, good-paying jobs.

Missouri event to showcase what modern day manufacturing is all about

Crouse says the industry contributes about $39 billion to Missouri’s gross domestic product – a measure of economic growth.

“I think manufacturing is one of the best industries and one of the hidden gems that most young people don’t think about today,” says Crouse. “Our automotive supply chain is very strong here. Our aerospace industry is also strong. Traditionally, we don’t think of bio life sciences as a manufacturing production area per se, but it is.”

This is the fifth year of the event and Crouse says it helps to change the hearts and minds of what manufacturing is like these days.

“And really de-mystifying what the stigma of manufacturing is in a lot of people’s heads, which it’s dark, dirty and dangerous. And that’s not the case about modern manufacturing,” he says. “It’s high tech. It’s clean and it’s fast-paced and it has great career trajectory for people to go into it.”

Crouse says key hiring barriers for manufacturers include skilled workers, filling entry-level jobs and short-term training for future employees.

The average annual wage for a Missouri manufacturing worker is about $59,700 with most including healthcare benefits and, in some cases, tuition reimbursement.

He says the pandemic has shifted the focus of Missouri’s manufacturing sector.

“We’re seeing an intense effort to reshore our manufacturing and our supply chains. And Missouri, being right in the middle of the U.S., has probably one of the best logistics positions in the country. And so, as we think about growing our economic abilities, manufacturing in any sector really can find a great home here,” says Crouse.

The program, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., will feature a different manufacturer every 20 minutes. Students will get the opportunity to interact with manufacturing leaders and ask questions. Featured manufacturers include Boeing, Emerson, Kawasaki, Koller Craft, Pfizer, Polytainers, Toyota, and many more. The event will be available for playback on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

Listen to the full interview:

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