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Katie Takacs

Quality Insider

Sharing Stories Helps Champion Manufacturing Careers

Welcome to the Faces of Manufacturing

Published: Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 13:10

Capture kids’ attention at a young age, and it can inspire their futures. You often hear kids say they want to be a doctor, athlete, lawyer, policemen, or fireman. They associate these jobs with prestige and the “cool factor.” But how often do you hear a kid say that she wants to work in manufacturing?

What about pre-teens, teens, and even adults entering the workforce or changing careers? Many times, unless they’ve been exposed to manufacturing, they can’t relate to careers associated with industry or don’t realize the variety of careers available within a manufacturing plant.

In an industry that was hard hit during the Great Recession and was already laboring under some misconceptions, it’s more important than ever to position manufacturing in a relatable way. This can be done through connecting careers in manufacturing with the younger generations’ interest in Legos, robots, and computers; creating links to the communities people live in by promoting jobs associated with locally made products; or exposing educators and other influencers to everything manufacturing has to offer.

People relate more to other people than to corporations, services, or products. Recently, Mary Ann Pacelli referenced the Faces of Manufacturing initiative in an article titled “Rosie the Riveter and the Changing Face of the Manufacturing Workforce.” Faces of Manufacturing is a program designed by the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech to showcase the stories of people who work within or are affected by manufacturing in Georgia. This program is bridging that gap and breaking down those proverbial barriers by giving people a glimpse into the lives and careers of real people that work in real manufacturing jobs. Some of the people featured include a woman who put herself through college while raising two boys as a single mother; a 22-year-old man who discovered his love of manufacturing because he liked working on cars with his dad—and who almost didn’t take this path because he thought joining a robotics team was “dorky”; two guys who decided to produce their own product to help surgical patients and have since started their own manufacturing company; and the guy next door who came home to help his dad run the family company and is now changing the lives of everyone around him. These are just some of the stories that have come out of Faces of Manufacturing.

Every time a state representative re-tweets one of these stories to their followers, a teacher shares a video in his or her classroom, or one of the stories gets told on the local news, the message of the importance of manufacturing to our local, state, and national economy gets delivered to the next generation of manufacturers.

Growing up, I didn’t understand what engineering was, nor did I have any exposure to the world of manufacturing. However, the longer I’m connected to this industry, the more convinced I am that the skill set and interests that I had as a kid could have easily aligned with working in manufacturing. Instead, I’m honored to promote manufacturing as an amazing, futuristic, and innovative industry and tell the stories of people within the industry through Faces of Manufacturing. If these stories influence a man or woman to change their career, or a boy or girl to enroll in a summer camp or train for a career with a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) focus, then we’re helping change the “Face of Manufacturing.” As a mother of two 4-year-old girls, I want them to have every opportunity available and choose the career that best suits them. I also want them to know that manufacturing does have cool and prestigious jobs, and that manufacturing is a viable, sustainable, and lucrative career choice.

Let’s get the next generation excited about manufacturing!

First published May 28, 2015, on the Manufacturing Innovation Blog.


About The Author

Katie Takacs’s picture

Katie Takacs

Katie Takacs is the marketing manager at Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, part of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP). Takacs works within the higher education environment as well as marketing agencies. Her focus areas include marketing strategy, analytics, direct marketing, program management, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), website development, and Word Press. Takacs has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing from the University of Florida and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University.