GRAND RAPIDS — Manufacturers want to show students that their perceptions of modern manufacturing plants are likely Hollywood fabrications.
The concept: encourage students to visit advanced manufacturing plants and film what they see so they can show their peers what real-world manufacturing is all about.
That’s the aim of the Manufacturers Council Workforce Development Committee’s “Discover Manufacturing Today Video Challenge.”
The competition, which includes 30 student teams from high schools across West Michigan, has two parts: a public contest and a judged award. The public vote, which ends March 15, takes place on the contest’s Facebook page and will be decided by the number of likes that each video received.
A panel of judges from local manufacturers and the community will also select winners.
The public’s and the judges’ selections of first place winners will each receive $2,500, second place will receive $1,500, and both the school with the most entries and the school with the most entries per student population will be given $1,000.
The Manufacturers Council, which is hosted by The Right Place Inc. and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center West regional office, and the Workforce Development Committee wanted to find a way to get young students interested in careers in the industry, said Jay Dunwell, president of Wolverine Coil Spring Co. in Grand Rapids and chair of the committee.
“Certainly, manufacturers are growing, and when you look at the demographics of our staffs, it’s clear that there’s a significant need for entry-level skills and the higher skills,” Dunwell said. “We’re trying to keep the pipeline filled with talent by attracting high school age and younger kids to the career.”
The videos will be screened at an event at Celebration Cinema North at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 16.
Sponsors of the contest include Amway, Ranir, Davidson Plyforms, Genesis Seating, ADAC Automotive, Wolverine Coil Spring, D+M Metal Products, Flexco, Grand Rapids Spring & Stamping Co., Irwin Seating Co., Perrigo Co. and Grand Rapids Community College. The Kent Intermediate School District Career Tech Center helped coordinate the project.