An international movement that aims to pull people to the manufacturing industry will be featured in Stoughton this weekend.
Manufacturing Day will be hosted at Zalk Josephs, 400 Industrial Circle, on Saturday, Oct. 6, with family-friendly activities designed to get people of all ages engaged while learning about what a job in a factory looks like, from welding to 3-D printing.
Cheryl Roggendorf, print room technician and project coordinator at Zalk Josephs, said the idea was sparked from attending a professional women’s conference with the goal of trying to get more women in the industry. She attended the event with other employees, Maria Maas and Pamela Hodge, who have both contributed to planning the event.
“We came across Manufacturing Day as one way to promote the industry to younger students and younger people,” Roggendorf said.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. It’ll include a guided tour through the factory, a 3-D modeling demonstration and hands-on activities suitable for children. Food trucks will be on site for lunch.
Manufacturing Day was created by Founding Partner Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International in 2012. It has since grown to partner with several manufacturing organizations, including the National Association of Manufacturers, according to its website, mfgday.com. There are 16 events planned in Canada and nine in Mexico, in addition to the 2,404 planned in the United States. Stoughton’s is one of 75 planned in Wisconsin.
The Manufacturing Day events are typically held on the same Friday, but Roggendorf said they moved the Stoughton event to a Saturday to try to get more families to attend outside of regular work and school hours.
Employees at Zalk Josephs spent several months planning the event, and along the way reached out to Nelson Global Products, Dairyland Electric and Clark Heating and Cooling, among others in the business park. Roggendorf said that while those businesses aren’t participating this year, they “seemed receptive and recognized the importance of getting new talent in the doors.”
That’s important, Maas said, because the amount of people retiring from the industry is outpacing the number of new employees.
“We’re hoping that in the future this can be an event where people can come out for the day, stop out to several locations and find out what all of these businesses do,” Maas said. “We’re trying to be a guinea pig this year to see what we can improve on and what might need to change next year.”
Mayor Tim Swadley told the Hub he plans on attending, and said that he’s excited to see Stoughton’s history represented with an event like this.
“I think Stoughton has a proud tradition of manufacturing, look all the way back to the 1800s with Wagon Works,” he said. “That has carried over with Stoughton Trailers, Uniroyal and Zalk Josephs as well.”
He said the event is one way the community has become more engaged with the Industrial Park businesses over the last several months, with the help of the Chamber of Commerce, which has hosted meetings at businesses in that area.
“The open house can give the public an opportunity to come through and see what they do, which is good to help people understand the significance of that,” Swadley said.
For information about Manufacturing Day, visit mfgday.com.