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President’s Message From Mike Betts

President of SMIDream It. Do It.

One of our industry’s most pressing challenges is finding next generation, work-ready talent who can join our businesses and add value. What you may not know is that the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) subsidiary, The Manufacturing Institute, houses the “Dream It. Do It.” program that helps address this need. Dream It. Do It. helps open the door to reach next generation students who are interested in our industry. The program can help you connect with Career and Technical Education (CTE) students in your local high schools and community colleges.

Several SMI member companies will host Manufacturing Day events through Dream It. Do It. in October. Most events include tours of manufacturing facilities by high school juniors and seniors and community college CTE students. In some cases, businesses open their doors to younger students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Since research has proven that tours through manufacturing plants open students’ eyes to what is possible in the field of manufacturing, the Dream It. Do It. program is an important component to the future growth of manufacturing.

It’s not hard to get engaged in Manufacturing Day events. In most regions in the U.S., the local CTE schools, whether public or private, have information on how to reach the school coordinators, who can help you arrange student tours.

In several cases, SMI member Manufacturing Day tours have led to paid and unpaid internships. An exciting prospect is that many students get hired by the companies they toured, once they graduate from their respective program. The value of an internship is reciprocal. It allows the student to get to know your business and culture, and for you to get to know the student. In fact, most schools offer workers’ compensation coverage for participating businesses when students begin a working internship.

Typically, the students who attend the Manufacturing Day tours are prescreened and tested to ensure the industry sees the “best of the best.” Being invited to go on tours is a privilege that is earned by the student’s academic focus and extracurricular activities. Students have a minimum of two years of Linked Learning Manufacturing Skills and many have stackable industry certificates in addition to the certificates of completion from their program.

The official 2016 Manufacturing Day is Oct. 7, although you can hold your event any weekday in October or anytime throughout the year. To learn more about Manufacturing Day visit You can easily register and then post your event online under the caption “Host an Event!”

Our SMI executive committee and board of directors applauds all our members who have reached out to the CTE community in their region and opened their doors for tours. Many in our industry have expressed surprise at how qualified these young students are.

We have several Manufacturing Day champions in the ranks of SMI who are available to share their success stories with you. Reach out to SMI at and we will make sure one of our champions contacts you to answer questions and assist you.

All the best!
Mike Betts

SMI Springmakers

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Spring Manufacturers Institute, Inc. • 2001 Midwest Road, Suite 106. • Oak Brook, Illinois 60523-1335 USA
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