Group hopes to recruit high school students to take up manufacturing jobs

CHARLOTTE — A national tour is making a stop in Charlotte this week in hopes of convincing young people to join the manufacturing industry.

The Creators Wanted tour, a joint campaign between the National Association of Manufacturers and the Manufacturing Institute, aims to solve the current labor shortage crisis and keep it from happening again. The manufacturing industry has close to 1 million open jobs and, according to a workforce study by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, manufacturers in the US will need to fill 4 million jobs by 2030.

Jay Timmons, CEO and President of the National Association of Manufacturers, said Creators Wanted is a stab at attracting students to manufacturing at an early age.

“It’s a long-term solution,” Timmons explained. “We’re trying to inspire the next generation to get excited about manufacturing. There’s a perception problem, or perhaps a lack of awareness, about the incredible opportunities and fun and exciting opportunities in manufacturing today, especially among students.”

The tour, parked at Central Piedmont Community College’s Central campus, utilizes a mobile escape room housed inside a trailer to introduce students to manufacturing skillsets and concepts. Participants have to think quickly and use different techniques to get from room to room, like robotics and auto-making.

Janita Willoughby is a sophomore at Anson High School and spoke with Channel 9 at the event on Tuesday. She enjoys her robotics class at school but never realized she could have a job in that field.

“I didn’t even know what manufacturing was,” Willoughby explained. “[The escape room] was fun. It made me think I might consider this as a job because you make a lot of money and doing something you like, so that’s a good thing.”

The tour will be at Central Piedmont Community College through Friday.

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