Students get glimpse of manufacturing in the digital age
Step inside today's manufacturing world, and you will quickly find, these are not your grandfather's manufacturing jobs.

"It [manufacturing] used to be thought of as this dark, dirty, dingy place, that's dangerous," said Hope Riska of Plymouth-based metalworking machine supplier, Productivity, Inc.

From robotics to software engineering, today's manufacturing combines equipment and skills that are a far cry from the factory jobs of the past. Every other year, Productivity, Inc. throws open its doors to introduce students from high schools and colleges in the upper midwest to the world of manufacturing.

"I think kids are finally realizing what manufacturing is all about. They say they want to be in technology careers. This is technology," said Riska.

From the clothes we wear to the devices we use, the manufacturing industry is key to our daily lives, and like any industry, manufacturing requires a healthy workforce to thrive.

Kennedy Copiskey, a freshman at Centennial High School, has her sights on becoming an engineer one day, possibly in the medical device field. Before today's manufacturing event, Copiskey envisioned a production line when she thought of manufacturing, but she's rethinking that after learning about some of the machines.

"There's lots of software involved. You need to know how to use a computer and know how to do math, and physics, and chemistry," said Copiskey.

Buddy Swanson, an applications engineer at Productivity, Inc. showed one piece of equipment that can be used to manufacturer pieces for the medical industry. It's a machine that requires someone to program and operate it.

"Right now, we're making a rotor for a heart pump for a local manufacturer here in Minnesota," said Swanson.

For the more than 1,100 students in attendance at Monday's event the clear message is that there are many different types of careers possible within manufacturing.

Alexandra Renslo reporting

September 25, 2017


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