Kickstart: Showing off for Manufacturing Day

Embracing the theme of Creators Wanted, the plastics industry is opening its doors and meeting virtually today with American students to show off modern facilities with the latest technology.Celebrated every first Friday in October, Manufacturing Day rallies companies and educational institutions to come together to promote manufacturing as a career.Washington-based Plastics Industry Association is a sponsor this year as processors, like most manufacturers, struggle to fill job openings.MFG Day is critical to engaging the creators of tomorrow, according to Julia Asoni, senior director of student engagement for The Manufacturing Institute, which is the nonprofit workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers.”There are nearly 900,000 open manufacturing jobs right now and we have 4 million jobs to fill by the end of this decade. That’s an important message for high school students to hear,” Asoni told Plastics News for an upcoming story.More than a dozen plastics firms are getting behind the message to fill their talent pipelines. Those include Bekum America, PTI Engineered Plastics, FLEXcon Co., Revere Plastics, Armstrong Flooring, Pella Corp., Accede Mold & Tool, Hoffer Plastics, Noble Plastics, Synventive, Covestro, Rock West Composites, Wepco Plastics, Teijin Automotive Technologies and Cornerstone Building Products.Thanks to Catherine Kavanaugh for this item.Two companies that made very loud initial splashes with their announced plans for U.S. manufacturing — only to widely miss those announced goals — are about to join forces.Lordstown Motors Corp., which purchased a former General Motors Co. plant in Lordstown, Ohio, to make electric vehicles, and Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwan-based electronics giant, that will see Foxconn pay $280 million for the plant. Foxconn would also make Lordstown Motors’ electric truck.It would be a big win for Lordstown, which has had a tough 2021. In June, the CEO and chief financial officer resigned and a replacement executive who bragged about Lordstown’s “binding orders” for future vehicles later had to admit those orders weren’t binding after all.Foxconn apparently is interested in using the site as it develops its own plans to make electric vehicles. (Earlier this year, executives said they were for an EV plant.)Foxconn’s previous headline-making project, of course, was its announced plan for a 20 million-square-foot plant in Wisconsin to make LCD screens. (It actually has a 1 million-square-foot plant in southern Wisconsin to make masks and ventilators.)”The accord gives both companies something they badly need. Lordstown Motors gets a partner that will hasten the startup’s move into large-scale production, which will help lower the high costs required to make EVs. Foxconn gets a plant in North America, where it can build its open-source electric vehicle platform and do contract manufacturing for partners like Fisker Inc.,” Bloomberg wrote.When Martin Stark was named to the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2018, he with Plastics News to talk about his work.Then the chairman of blow molding machinery maker Bekum America Corp., he was, he said, surprised to find himself in a Hall of Fame group of people with a long list of accomplishments.”My fellows who are going to be inducted along with me, they are leaders in the industry, having patents, having inventions,” he said in the video. “I don’t have any patents or inventions.”I kind of contributed to the industry in a different way: Making the public aware of the industry, getting the community involved, supporting education,” he said. “I’m very happy that I was voted in, but it’s quite humbling to be part of this very distinguished group of people.”Stark, who on Sept. 30 after 40 years with Bekum, did take pride in the company’s work to establish a German-style apprenticeship program, but he also noted bringing it to small-town Williamston, Mich., was a necessity.”It’s very hard to compete successfully for a skilled workforce,” he said. “In the mid-1990s, we decided to grow our own.”At that time, in 2018, 40 percent of Bekum’s workforce came from its apprenticeship program. That sounds like as important of a contribution to the industry as an invention to me. Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Please enter a valid email address.Please enter your email address.Please verify captcha.Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe. Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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