Hundreds of high school students will occupy the campus of Ozarks Technical Community College on Friday for a first-time career day event centered on the manufacturing industry.
The inaugural I-Create Manufacturing Career Day & Industry Showcase is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The event is organized by the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, OTC, Missouri State University, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, SMC Packaging and the city’s Department of Workforce Development, according to a news release.
“Over 1,000 area high school students will experience the innovative world of advanced manufacturing with hands-on activities and demonstrations,” said Ericka Schmeeckle, the city of Springfield’s assistant director of workforce development, in the release. “The manufacturing sector continues to grow in this region and offers good-paying jobs with career advancement opportunities and many benefits.”
Missouri Job Center spokesperson Katherine Trombetta said roughly 20 exhibitors will attend the event. Companies include Custom Metalcraft Inc., Holloway America, Paul Mueller Co., Positronic Industries Inc. and Vital Farms, according to the Missouri Association of Manufacturers website. Exhibitors are expected to provide activities for students, such as educational displays, equipment operation demonstrations and learning labs.
“We are incredibly excited to host high school students from around the area and introduce them to careers in the manufacturing field,” said Michael Eaton, MAM executive director, in the release. “We are grateful to the manufacturers who are participating in this event to help educate the next generation of workforce.”
Trombetta said the event was born out of conversations between Job Center and MAM officials to try and get more high school students interested in careers in the manufacturing industry. The concept is similar to the Build My Future Construction Showcase, she said, but is not affiliated with the construction and trades industry event, which drew around 2,000 high schoolers in April to the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E-plex. Build My Future, which started in 2017, was on hiatus for the previous two years amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
According to officials, students attending I-Create will be coming from a 12-county region: Greene, Camden, Cedar, Christian, Hickory, Howell, Jasper, Polk, Taney, Texas, Webster and Wright.
Plans for the Finley Ridge apartment complex in the growing community of Ozark call for four buildings, four stories apiece, with 48 units each for a total of 192, as well as a 1,500-square-foot shared community and fitness room.