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Manufacturing ‘is the place to be’: Designers wanted conclude Freeport shutdown

As recruiters flock to campuses and job fairs nationwide, NAM and the Manufacturing Institute’s Creators Wanted Tour Live continued to help manufacturers stand out in the competitive job market this week. in Freeport, Texas.

The scope: The three-day tour stop, presented by Creators Wanted Legacy sponsor Dow, drew more than 800 students to Brazosport ISD’s new career and technical education center.

  • Over 25,000 students and career mentors have signed up online to learn about careers in modern manufacturing.
  • Students came from all over the area, including Brazoswood, Angleton, Brazosport, Columbia and Sweeny high schools.

Who is who: Students and teachers had access to top industry leaders, including:

  • John Sampson, senior vice president of operations, manufacturing and engineering for Dow;
  • Fernando Signorini, Vice President of Dow Gulf Coast Operations;
  • Katy Theroux, executive vice president and chief human resources officer of Cornerstone Building Brands;
  • Sharon Hulgan, Dow Plants A&B manufacturing manager for Texas operations; and
  • Deborah McKitten, Vice President of Operations, Polyamide and Precursors of BASF Corporation.

These leaders have joined the creators in their companies, as well as members of the Fluor Corporation team, on broadcast live panels throughout the stopover to discuss their professional careers and advise students. Here are some of the themes of the event.

Inclusion and diversity: Manufacturing is “for everyone,” said Kalyani Martinelango, associate director of research and development at Dow, during a panel of creators on inclusion, diversity and equity.

  • She continued, “For Dow to be competitive, we need to be inclusive. And it’s not just a matter of gender or racial diversity… but also of thought. We need to be passionate about inclusion because it’s the right thing to do.

Change the world, live a good life: Panelists all agreed that manufacturing careers offer significant benefits.

  • Whether it’s making sustainable products, driving innovation, advancing decarbonization or earning a good salary, careers in industry offer a lot.
  • “Manufacturing is a great [career] option,” said Hulgan, who oversees two factories in the company’s Texas operations. “They are among the top 10% earners. … This is the place to be if you like to have a nice lifestyle.

Calling all women: Women shouldn’t shy away from getting into manufacturing, panelists advised.

  • Manufacturing “is a male-dominated industry, yes,” said Natalia Muniz Rivera, Dow Texas operations learning leader for the United States. “However, we are changing that. … Do not be shy. Get up. This diversity is what makes the future better.

Meanwhile, the immersive teacher- and student-approved experience continued to win accolades.

  • A student mentioned“They did that [in] a real fun and interactive way for people to get interested and get into making.
  • Students repeatedly confirmed that the experience changed their perceptions and increased their interest in manufacturing careers.

Activities galore: It wasn’t just Dow who brought the A team and the A game, complete with a robotic dog and a lizard, to excite the students.

  • Chart Industries and Turner Industries brought in team members to answer students’ questions and help them explore manufacturing in their own backyards.
  • Brazosport College helped students chart the next steps in their career process.
  • And FactoryFix was on hand to provide pathways to career coaching and employment opportunities.

What young people are saying: In surveys and testimonials, one point became clear to potential manufacturers.

  • “It’s definitely a lucrative field to be a part of,” said Dow apprentice Chris Thurman.
  • Dow apprentice Anna Green reinforced that point, pointing out that she’s worked with a fair number of people who graduated from two-year degrees at Brazosport College and “make six figures a year.”

The last word: “Creators Wanted shows the variety of opportunities available,” said Brazosport ISD Superintendent Dan Massey. Told The log of facts (subscription). “There is something to meet the needs of every student. That’s what’s amazing about this event.

And after? Creators Wanted is working to secure additional financial commitments to finalize a fall touring schedule and reach more students and communities. E-mail [email protected] if you want to support the campaign.