Celebrating Manufacturing in the Flathead. Transforming One Day Into an 8-Week Program.

Five years ago, we adopted a new strategic initiative based on a trend we were seeing develop across Montana and the Flathead Valley. Manufacturing had been a constant economic powerhouse in the area for decades, but a transition was happening, and it was big. The dominating presence of large manufacturing firms was quickly giving way to smaller, high-tech, more specialized companies, and they were moving in fast. Flathead County is now home to more than 500 unique manufacturers who make everything from firearms to building materials, food and pharmaceuticals to machinery, and all products in between.

Manufacturing wages are consistently about 17% higher than the national average as well as those here in Montana, however as we’ve seen the industry boom, there’s been a constant conversation about the lack of skilled labor, and even more, the predicted lack of labor available in the near future. Across the nation, there will be an estimated 3 million new manufacturing jobs available in the next decade, however, it is expected that more than 2 million of those will go unfilled. With the potential for increased wages, coupled with the incredible number of job openings and a rapidly growing industry, we decided to make manufacturing our focus each fall. Starting with events on just National Manufacturing Day 2013, where community members, like you, could get inside and tour manufacturing facilities, this program has now blossomed into more than eight weeks of programs, tours, seminars, and more.

Education and workforce development are at the heart of much of what we do, so we’ve created continuing education days for teachers and counselors to learn how to inspire and excite students about pursuing careers in manufacturing. We’ve set up full and half-day field-trips for students to get inside facilities and see just what they do.

Our focus this year is to showcase the ‘many faces of manufacturing’ and how any career path can have its home in the manufacturing industry. Join our kickoff luncheon on Sept 18th and follow along with us this fall!

For more information on our manufacturing events, and to learn about all of our programming this September and October, please view our full newsletter by clicking the thumbnail above.

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