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Economic Outlook

Jeff Rea’s Blog Post (Episode 1505)

October 31, 2019 (Updated: 10:42 AM)
Author Jeff Rea

About Jeff

Jeff Rea is currently the President & CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jeff has over 20 years of executive leadership experience in our region while working in areas such as Economic Development, Business Development, City Planning, Marketing, and Local Government. Jeff has a degree from Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC and executive management continuing education work at the University of Notre Dame.

Jeff Rea’s Blog Post (Episode 1505)

Welcome to my blog post related to our taping on our show about Manufacturing Day and other efforts in the region to cultivate the next generation of manufacturing workers. I sure appreciate your support of WNIT, Public Television (PBS), and our show!

If you are not familiar with the show, we hope you’ll make plans to join us each week as we bring you stories about the people, companies and communitiesdriving economic growth in our region! If you want to take a look at some of our previous shows, their available at www.wnit.org/economicoutlook.

So why is this topic so important? Over the next decade, there are expected to be 3.5 million job openings in manufacturing, with a growing skill shortage. The perception of careers in the industry has steered workers to other industries.This is concerning to employers in our region given the high concentration of manufacturers.

Manufacturing is about a $95 billion piece of the Michigan economy, and about a $97 billion piece of the Indiana economy. In Michigan, more than 600,000 people work in manufacturing. In Indiana, another 520,000 people work in the industry. It’s a big part of both economies. But the manufacturing workforce is aging and there is great concern with finding and cultivating that next generation of worker.

Efforts are underway to change that perception of the industry. Employers want prospective employees to understand that manufacturing today is the most advanced, high-tech industry in the country. One of those efforts is Manufacturing Day, held each year the first week of October. All communities do it a little different, but our region does it better than most.

On the show we welcomed Paul Hartz, the President of Mack Tool and the President of the local chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA); Duane Berger, Executive Director, Michigan Manufacturing & Technology Association, which is powered by Kinexus), and Len Amat, Market President, Centier Bank. Each have been involved in various efforts around the region and joined me on the show to talk more about those efforts.

In St. Joseph County, this year’s event included 2 states, 5 counties, 9 high schools, 26 buses, 37 businesses, and 7 education partners. The event targeted high school students. In Elkhart, they target middle schoolers. In Michigan, they approach it a bit differently, tune in to hear more.

Your feedback is valuable, feel free to reach out anytime (jrea@sbrchamber.com)  with comments, compliments, criticisms, story ideas. I’ll do my best to get back you as soon as possible. Also, follow-us on facebook, Twitter (Jeff_Rea), or at WWW.WNIT.org/economicoutlook for all the latest info on the show. 

Enjoy the show!