The Dayton Region Manufacturers Association held its annual trade show yesterday at the Dayton Airport Convention Center just a few miles from my house. So, I went down to visit for a couple of hours. The group has morphed from the Dayton Tooling and Machine Association–Dayton is a manufacturing center with many tooling and machine building companies. So, many exhibits are from the “chip cutting” industry, but there was some automation represented as well.

Angelia Erbaugh, association president, told me that member are hiring. The problem is finding the right talent and attitudes–she emphasized the necessity for both.

The first thing is technical skills–whether as a machinist, controls technician or other needed skills. The second requirement is to find employees who have achieved a level of maturity, that is, they are willing to get up and go to work every day. They can pass a drug test. They can work with others.

She is trying to encourage people to go into manufacturing by raising visibility in the local media–basically the Dayton Daily News. And she is having some success in that regard.

Exhibitors told me that there are still some social stigmas around manufacturing. Parents are fixated on college degrees rather than technical degrees. Parents remember the days of manufacturing as a dirty and unsafe environment. But all that has changed. We need to get that message out.

I’m available within my schedule to talk to just about any group that will show the cool side of manufacturing. Maybe we all need to hit the road and become manufacturing evangelists.

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