To give kids a headstart on their futures, Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) hosted Manufacturer’s Day on Thursday, October 6. This event welcomed seventh-grade students in Starke County to learn about the jobs available in their area and help them plan for their high school classes, paving the way toward their future careers.
SCEDF Executive Director Lisa Dan shared this is SCEDF’s 12th year running Manufacturer’s Day, so she and her staff stay in close contact with the guidance counselors at the middle school level.
During the morning session from 7:30 a.m.-11 a.m. and the afternoon session from 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., middle schools from the surrounding area gathered in the Knox High School All-Purpose Room to learn about local vocational opportunities.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SCEDF took a break from coordinating in-person Manufacturer's Days, so SCEDF and the manufacturers at the event were excited about so many young faces at the event.
“We had several schools come through, and the kids were fantastic. We hope they learned a lot in the process,” Dan said. “We have 10 manufacturers on hand for them to meet today and learn about the companies, so we're very excited that we're back in the swing of things.”
Manufacturers set up booths lining the All-Purpose Room where they talked to one middle school group at a time about all the job opportunities that their respective businesses had to offer. Older students from the schools guided the seventh-grade groups from booth to booth, learning about the businesses in the process. In fact, many of the older students attended Manufacturer’s Day when they were seventh graders themselves as well.
“One thing we did a little different this year is we asked our schools if they would bring some of their upperclassmen who went through this when they were seventh graders to be the tour guides for the younger students,” Dan said. “We asked them to send their kids that are interested in manufacturing and vocational opportunities after high school. Those are the kids that are here today chaperoning the younger students.”
Between the morning and afternoon sessions for Manufacturer's Day, SCEDF hosted the 2022 Prospectus and Achievement Luncheon. At the luncheon, Linda Walczak, director of Expansions and Retention at Indiana Economic Development Corporation, served as the keynote speaker.
Walczak discussed statistics and strategies surrounding topics such as 2022 Indiana expansions, Indiana’s business climate, and entrepreneurship.
“It was great to participate in the event and get out into the county. It’s what we do,” Walczak said.
The luncheon concluded with the announcement of the 2022 Industry of the Year Award recipient. This year’s recipient was Hoosier Custom Plastics, LLC (HCP). HCP Partner Mike Tetzloff and HCP Vice President of Sales Craig Dulworth accepted the award.
“We would like to thank the Starke County Economic Development Foundation board of directors and staff. They have been very helpful in our success,” Tetzloff said. “This is very humbling, and we want to thank you for this award.”
For more information about Starke County Economic Development Foundation, visit its Facebook page here.