On Friday, October 5th, 2018, Stiles Machinery opened its doors to students from three local area high schools in celebration of Manufacturing Day, an annual nationwide event designed to inspire the next generation and offer them insights into what manufacturing looks like today and the many different career opportunities within the industry.
The event, which was hosted at Stiles headquarters and HOMAG Machinery North America in Grand Rapids, MI, was a huge success, with nearly 100 students attending from local high schools.
Students began the day with a tour of HOMAG Machinery North America, where they saw how German-engineered flat table CNC machines are built and assembled right here in the United States. From there, students made their way down the road to the Stiles Machinery headquarters where they experienced some of those same machines in action, as members of Stiles’ staff demonstrated how the machines are programmed and operated. Students then had the opportunity to take part in hands-on sanding and assembling of the processed parts from the CNC machine to build a children’s table and chair set, which will be donated to a local charity.
Jen Twilling, Secondary Counselor at East Kentwood High School, explained why she believes this opportunity was an important one for her students. “We know that for some students a traditional college route is not something that is appealing to them, but we want them to have a plan that will enable them to get a good job and support themselves and learn a skilled trade, and I think that manufacturing is a great way for them to be able to do that.”
Many students also expressed their experience at Stiles’ Manufacturing Day Event including Joseph Hackett, a senior from East Kentwood High School, who mentioned that he could see a future for himself in manufacturing. “From the moment I walked in the door and met all of you and experienced how friendly and open everyone was, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of,” said Hackett.
This is the second Manufacturing Day Event that Stiles has participated in, and according to Thomas Allott, Manager of Stiles University, it will not be their last. “Opening our doors to local students not only exposes Stiles to the next generation of potential manufacturing talent but also exposes the students to a world of opportunities that are made available through a career in our industry,” says Allott.