Manufacturing Week is less about PR and more about doing something
By Lynn Shelton
Enterprise Minnesota's Vice President of Marketing
(Lynn Shelton, vice president of marketing, Enterprise Minnesota)
I am happy to report that the just-concluded Manufacturing Week in Minnesota showed how it has evolved from a PR-ish attempt to recognize manufacturers as an important member of the state’s total business community into a hands-on working group to help manufacturers solve real challenges, most notably in the workforce.
I joined some of my Enterprise Minnesota colleagues--President and CEO Bob Kill, and Vice President of Consulting John Connelly--for Manufacturing Week presentations in Lakeville, Wyoming, Brainerd, Bloomington, Faribault, and Litchfield. Our mission was to stress the increasing need of public/private partnerships to solve the worker shortage.
We’re gratified to see how well local communities have embraced the message of public/private partnerships that we’ve been advocating for 10 years now. These partnerships include:
- Manufacturers themselves. It may sound peculiar that we have to include manufacturers in a partnership designed to help manufacturers, but many manufacturers are benefiting from strategic relationships they are building with stakeholders who will supply them with the next generation of manufacturing workers.
- Business groups: Chambers, for example, have always been vocal cheerleaders for their manufacturing members, but they too are seeing the value of bringing other business groups into the coalition of hands-on advocacy that includes economic developers, accountants, lawyers and the vast numbers of suppliers who work with manufacturers every day.
- Elected officials are seeing how they can help. Manufacturers as a group have never been big on asking their officials to “legislate” their way to prosperity, only that they see how legislation can have unintended consequences and inhibit manufacturers. They also have a “bully pulpit” in which they can express the needs of manufacturers, particularly with regard to the worker shortage.
- Educators have always been important to manufacturers, particularly in traditional shop classes and post-secondary technical schools, which continues today. But there is a more urgent need among principals, counselors, and classroom teachers to recognize that a four-year degree is not a singular path to prosperity for students. We can’t populate tech career paths if teachers aren’t showing the way.
- Parents, too, must understand that their children can achieve rewarding and prosperous careers without necessarily having to endure the costly process of a four-year degree.
I spoke to a group in Wyoming last week that admirably reflected this kind of partnership. The emcee of the event was Joe Mulford, president of Pine Technical and Community College (and a board member at Enterprise Minnesota). Joe is a manufacturing activist who understands the path to solving manufacturers’ worker challenges as well as anyone. Importantly, the group included local elected officials. Wyoming Mayor Lisa Iverson; George McMahon, chair of the Chisago County Board; State Senator Tony Lourey; Senator Rich Draheim; Senator Mark Koran; and North Branch High School Principal Coleman McDonough spoke about Project Lead the Way.
Newly-appointed Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra was also there to conduct a roundtable discussion on how Minnesota State is confronting the challenge of creating more manufacturing and other graduates to serve our workforce of the future.
Look for the Q&A with Bob Kill and Chancellor Malhotra in the fall issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine.
Improving Your Continuous Improvement
**Exclusive to Manufacturers**
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
5063 273rd St
Wyoming, MN 55092
What to Expect
You may have integrated lean practices throughout your business, but are you empowering employees to see waste and eliminate it?
Sam Gould, Enterprise Minnesota continuous improvement expert, will show you how to engage employees in eliminating waste, producing higher quality/volume products in less time, while maximizing productivity.
You will gain:
- Increased employee skills and behaviors that align with company values;
- Increased focus on value-added activities;
- Improved productivity company-wide; and
- Strengthened continuous improvement efforts.
This event is exclusive to manufacturers and is free of charge. Registration is required.
To register please contact email@example.com.