Friday's inaugural Manufacturing Day highlighted the importance of manufacturing to the nation's economy and showcased the highly skilled jobs available in manufacturing fields.
Manufacturers across the country held open houses, public tours and career workshops.
A recent study showed that 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled in the U.S. due to a gap in the job requirements and skills in the workforce.
"Manufacturing is at the forefront of the national conversation, and Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity to continue to drive awareness to how important the sector is for economic growth and job creation," said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers.
"Access to talented individuals with a high-quality education and advanced skills is critical to manufacturers' capacity for innovation and business success," added Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute. "Today's talent does not view manufacturing as a top career option. This perception issue, coupled with the skills gap, has contributed to a depleted supply of qualified talent for today's manufacturing workplaces."
Of course, highlighting manufacturing's role in McHenry County has been at the forefront of the McHenry County Economic Development Corp.'s agenda for some time now.
The MCEDC last month sponsored bus trips for 844 high school students to attend the International Manufacturing Technology Show at Chicago's McCormick Place.
Cumpata said the MCEDC plans to continue to engage high school students. "The next step is tours into a number of manufacturers in the county," she said.
According to the MCEDC, more than 25 percent of McHenry County’s economic wealth is created by the manufacturing community.
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The MCEDC will showcase the best of McHenry County's business community at its Annual Dinner Thursday at the Holiday Inn in Crystal Lake.
Fourteen companies will be introduced at the dinner as Business Champion Award nominees. Three will be named Business Champion Award winners.
This year's nominees are broken into three categories based on their size. All nominees will be introduced Thursday before the three 2012 Business Champions are announced.
Nominees in Division 1 (fewer than 25 employees) are CalCo Cutaways in Crystal Lake, Impact Plastics Inc. in Huntley, and Tegel Design Inc. in Huntley.
Nominees in Division II (between 25 and 100 employees) are All-Rite Spring Co. in Spring Grove, Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical Inc. in Crystal Lake, Genesis Medical Imaging in Huntley, GKI Inc. in Crystal Lake, Haiges Machinery in Huntley, and Induction Heat Treating Corp. in Crystal Lake.
Nominees in Division III (more than 100 employees) are Centegra Health System in Huntley, Chroma Technology Corp. in McHenry, H.S. Crocker Company Inc. in Huntley, Master Coil Spring in McHenry, and Metalmaster Roofmaster in McHenry.
Cumpata said the winners in each category were decided by a panel of business leaders and professionals from outside McHenry County.
Previous Business Champions are: 2011 – Other World Computing, Dordan Manufacturing and Joule Technologies; 2010 – Scot Forge, Jan Air and Astro Craft; 2009 – Medela, Millennium Electronics and Stan’s Office Technologies; 2008 – Pioneer Center for Human Services, Prairie Ridge Media/McHenry County Living and New Concepts Development Corp./Other World Computing.
Networking begins at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6 and program and awards presentations at 7 p.m. Keynote speaker will be Rick Stephens, senior vice president of human resources for The Boeing Co.
For more information, visit www.mchenrycountyedc.com.
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