By Rick Harrington, senior vice president of operations, The Raymond Corporation
Every year in October, many companies celebrate National Manufacturing Day! This industry holiday provides the opportunity for companies and organizations to inspire and educate the next generation of manufacturers. In order to do this, companies hold events showcasing their teams and the processes they use every day.
This year my company held an event for students called Innovation in Manufacturing, where engineers demonstrated processes and systems relevant to manufacturing, such as 3D printing or computer-aided design (CAD). The event also allowed students to virtually experience welding through a simulator.
With growing concerns about filling the next generation of manufacturing jobs, events and programs such as these are essential for the future of the industry. Inspiring and educating students about manufacturing careers is the responsibility of each company in the industry. It’s invaluable, but don’t take it from me. Read on for what one apprentice program student and two co-operative (co-op) students had to say about their experiences.
Greene Central High School, Greene, N.Y.
Last year, I was selected to attend the Manufacturing Day event that Raymond held. Before I attended the event, I had some interest in and awareness of the apprenticeship program that the Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services (B.O.C.E.S.), along with Greene Central School District and Raymond jointly offer. Experiencing Manufacturing Day made me go from having some interest in the program to wanting to see more.
Growing up in Greene I always knew of Raymond and I could even name a number of people that worked both in the factory and the office. However, I never gave much thought about what goes on there. Manufacturing Day really opened my eyes to how big Raymond is. Being able to tour the factory and see a snapshot of how forklifts go from a CAD drawing on a computer to being loaded on a truck and shipped off really blew my mind.
During my current role as an apprentice, I am learning how the Toyota Production System (TPS) works, as well as gaining experience in an office environment. In the future, I hope to get into an engineering field, with any luck right here at The Raymond Corporation.
Master’s in Mechanical Engineering, Clarkson University
Being a manufacturing engineering co-op gave me the opportunity to work with great engineers and learn from them. In manufacturing, you get to be involved with making the product from start-to-finish. You learn about ways to increase efficiency and eliminate waste, and interact with the operators to better understand their point of view. This allows you to make it easier for them to perform their task in an easy and efficient manner. You get to be creative, and you can practice your hands-on skills. This opportunity has allowed me to put my problem solving, critical thinking and engineering skills to work. It also made me better at communicating and gave me valuable insights on how exciting manufacturing can be.
Binghamton University, Binghamton, N.Y.
Being an electrical engineering co-op in the manufacturing department at The Raymond Corporation has been a great influence in my life. I have obtained a great deal of knowledge, and have had the opportunity to utilize past knowledge and experiences in order to succeed. With most of the projects I have worked on, I have had the opportunity to not only design schematics and order parts, but to actually build the system, implement software and wire up hardware, which is the hands-on aspect I enjoy. I have learned a lot from working here and what it is like to be a manufacturing engineer. I would highly recommend it to any upcoming engineers or engineers that would like to do something different with their degree. The Raymond Corporation is like one big family that welcomes you with open arms. Being a part of this manufacturing family means a lot to me and I’m glad I’ve been given this opportunity.
This kind of feedback from Manufacturing Day and related programs should give today’s manufacturers inspiration for creating even more opportunity for students. Consider opening your doors to students to see how you can impact the future of manufacturing.