Friday, September 21, 2018

The Pros of Going PRO: How the New & Improved STTF Can Help Employers Develop & Retain the Talent They Need


Since 2013 the Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) has provided nearly $73 million in funding for training and apprenticeships. Starting this fall, another $29 million will be available for businesses throughout Michigan through the Going PRO Talent Fund, the new face of STTF. Although its name has changed, Going PRO is still as big and powerful as ever, helping to drive Michigan’s economy and provide manufacturers with the talent they need to compete and grow.

Created by Michigan Works!, an established partner in developing our state’s economic future, Going PRO provides competitive funding to employers to assist in training, developing and retaining current and newly hired employees. Through a collaborative statewide network of workforce and employee skill development partners, this program supports employer responsive training and enhances talent, productivity and employment retention while increasing the quality and competitiveness of Michigan’s businesses. The type of training this funding can be used for must be short-term and fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer, with past examples including anything from welding to robotics to CNC programming to on-the-job training.

Any Michigan employer with a need for skill enhancement, including apprenticeship programs and advance-tech training programs, may be eligible to apply for funding. To begin the application process, companies must first contact their local Michigan Works! office to assess their talent skill gaps and determine if Going PRO funding would be an appropriate solution. Once this has been decided, they will work together to develop the necessary training plan, identify and document the number of individuals to be trained and find all available funding and resources to be used. To get in touch with your local Michigan Works! office, or to learn more about the services this program provides, visit http://www.michiganworks.org/.

How Michigan Works! Can Work for You
Manufacturers hoping to enhance the skills of their workers can find support through Going PRO. Through this program, employers can work with Michigan Works! to get the training they need to ultimately eliminate gaps in talent at their facility. Going PRO provides more than just funding, as it also provides employers with loyal, ever-developing talent devoted to growing with the company. Through this service, Going PRO can help manufacturers retain and develop the talent they need to thrive, right at home.

Applications for FY 2019 funding are due October 3, 2018. To get assistance with the application process, or to learn about our Going PRO-funded training options, contact The Center at 888.414.6682 or inquiry@the-center.org.




Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Get a Peek into the Factory of the Future at Integr8

By: Elliot Forsyth

Manufacturing is changing. The industry is entering a new era, with oncoming workforce and technological advancements set to transform manufacturing as we know it. In this emerging age of smart manufacturing, a number of factors are contributing to this evolution:
  • Workforce changes. Out with baby boomers, in with millennials and Generation Z. The manufacturing landscape is facing a drastic shift in the type of talent available and interests of oncoming generations, which will inevitably lead to changes in manufacturing operations and capabilities. The influx of younger workers on the factory floor is expected to increase technology use in production, both to draw in these tech-savvy generations and to boost companies’ efficiencies and competitive edges in the evolving industry.
  • New technological and data applications. Several emerging technological innovations that fall under the Industry 4.0 umbrella, including additive manufacturing, robotics and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), are being increasingly adopted by manufacturers across the nation. With this rise in technology use comes a related rise in the use of data and analytics to inform and power operations to achieve higher levels of efficiency than previously thought possible. Manufacturers who choose to adopt such innovations and use them to their full potential can realize new growth, emerge into different markets, grow from reactive to predictive in maintenance practices and maintain a safer and more efficient atmosphere.
  • Increased importance of cybersecurity. Following this use of technology, risks associated with cybersecurity have skyrocketed. Manufacturing is now a top five target for cyber-attacks, with 43% of attacks targeting small businesses. This level of danger will only continue to grow as production becomes increasingly dependent on technology. This is not a reason to avoid technological innovations, however, but rather a reason to prioritize establishing safe cyber practices within your company. This will ensure your company can continue advancing with the industry, while staying protected.
While these aspects have been largely discussed in articles and blog posts, many manufacturers are still left wondering what these innovations look like in reality and how their business can effectively navigate these changes. Manufacturers interested in keeping up with the changing industry landscape can get a first-hand look at these topics and more at Integr8, an annual event focused on advancing smart manufacturing presented by Automation Alley. Through keynote presentations, panel discussions, hands-on technology demonstrations and breakout sessions, attendees gain the opportunity to experience and learn more about these innovations they’ve otherwise only heard about.

Held on November 14th in Detroit, this one-day event provides manufacturers with the insights and confidence necessary to implement new technological innovations and adapt with oncoming industry transformations. To get a front row seat to the factory of the future, register for Integr8 here. Be sure to use our code “TheCenter” for a discounted price.


MEET OUR EXPERT
Elliot Forsyth
Vice President of Business Operations

Elliot is Vice President of Business Operations at The Center, where he is responsible for leading practice areas that include cybersecurity, technology acceleration, marketing, market research and business development. Over the past two years, Elliot has led The Center's effort to develop a state-of-the-art cybersecurity service for companies in the defense, aerospace and automotive industries, supporting Michigan companies in safeguarding their businesses and maintaining regulatory compliance.



Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Let the Countdown Begin: Celebrate Manufacturing Day on October 5th!

By: Brian Mamo

Manufacturing Day answers the question: what does it mean to be a manufacturer? If you were to ask 20 people this question, you would get 20 different answers. This is because of not only the lack of awareness of the manufacturing industry, but also the ever-changing nature of manufacturing itself. These two aspects combined make it difficult for the layperson to really grasp what it means to be a manufacturer, resulting in misperceptions and negative views of the industry.

Manufacturing Day was created in 2012 in an effort to close the gap between what people think manufacturing is and what it actually is. Now an officially observed holiday, this nation-wide celebration of manufacturing continues to gain awareness and participants each year, with Michigan leading the effort in recent years with 211 events in 2016 and 272 events in 2017.

The driving force behind Manufacturing Day is to celebrate modern manufacturing and continue to advance the industry through the following efforts:
  • Change perceptions about manufacturing. Due to outdated and incorrect views of the industry, parents and students have the wrong idea of what manufacturing really is. While many may circulate the idea that manufacturing is dark, dirty and dangerous, this is no longer the case. Factories are now more safe and organized than ever, with strong safety regulations and updated equipment helping to make manufacturing one of the most viable career options on the market today.
  • Increase awareness of manufacturing career options available. Another misperception about manufacturing is that jobs offer low pay and are not competitive. Companies engaged in Manufacturing Day events work to go against this misunderstanding and instead show participants exactly how rewarding careers in manufacturing can be, through both quality of work and pay. This work has proven to be effective as those who attend Manufacturing Day events are 84% more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding, as seen in the infographic below.
  • Celebrate what manufacturers do every day. Aside from the serious motivating factors behind Manufacturing Day, the main goal is to celebrate. It’s a chance for manufacturers around the U.S. to open their doors to the public and show them what they do every day. In doing so, manufacturers and attendees alike are able to celebrate the role manufacturing plays in our economy and its significant impact on our everyday lives.

This year, Manufacturing Day officially falls on Friday, October 5th, although manufacturers are free to celebrate any day they choose, or even opt for Manufacturing Week or Manufacturing Month.  If you’re looking to connect with future generations, begin addressing the skills gap and present a new image of manufacturing to the world, consider hosting your own Manufacturing Day event!

Need Help Getting Started?
Follow these three steps to ensure your Manufacturing Day event is a success:
  1. Decide what type of event you’ll host. From plant tours to expos to career fairs, thousands of manufacturers host unique events each year. Choose which is best for you and your facility.
  2. Register your event online. Visit the Manufacturing Day website (www.mfgday.com) to make your event official and get the word out about your special celebration. You can choose which day to hold your event, and whether to make it public or keep it private. 
  3. Use the event toolkit for extra help. Want to make sure your event draws in the right crowd? The Manufacturing Day toolkit will give you all the advice and resources you need to make sure your event is effective.
The future of manufacturing is up to you. Make this the year you join in the Manufacturing Day celebration and show everyone what it really means to be a manufacturer, and help keep Michigan #1 in the nation.

For extra assistance with your event planning, contact The Center at inquiry@the-center.org.


MEET OUR EXPERT
Brian Mamo
Senior Business Solutions Manager

Brian Mamo is a Senior Business Solutions Manager at The Center. In his role, Brian works directly with manufacturers in Macomb County, providing services and support that enable them to compete, grow and prosper. Brian has more than 25 years of experience as a trusted advisor to hundreds of clients in several industries including the manufacturing, industrial, medical and service industries. Prior to joining The Center, Brian spent the past seven years as Director of Business Development and member of the Executive Team of a facility maintenance company. In addition to managing the sales team, Brian worked to redesign the company’s sales and marketing plan while streamlining the sales and operations delivery process.




Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.