Commentary - Manufacturing jobs create better futureThe Alexandria lakes region is blessed to have a strong manufacturing sector here. The jobs and wages that area manufacturers provide are critical to the success of our region.
By Coni McKay, executive director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
The Alexandria lakes region is blessed to have a strong manufacturing sector here. The jobs and wages that area manufacturers provide are critical to the success of our region. While we enjoy a diverse business community that provides structural soundness, one of the important pillars of this area is the strength of our manufacturing facilities.
But, unless you work in manufacturing, how many times have you driven past one of the area manufacturers and wondered what they produce? It is a common reaction – when you see a large building, often more than 100,000 square feet – the products manufactured there seem somehow “remote” to us. If the products built here don’t exist in our everyday world, we tend to overlook the obvious.
The “obvious” is one reason a partnership was formed to create the first ever “Tour of Manufacturing 2010.” The Chamber of Commerce, Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and Alexandria Technical and Community College have partnered with Tri State Manufacturing, West Central Initiative and eight area manufacturers to showcase the industry.
On Saturday, October 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can walk in the doors of the participating facilities and see first hand what they do. The participating manufacturers will be operating some of their lines or have demonstrations to showcase their work. Six of the participating manufacturers are in Douglas County and two are in Pope County. All tours are free and a special tabloid is being produced to tell more about the participating manufacturers and will include a map of those open for tours. Watch for the tabloid in the Echo Press, Osakis Review, The Shopper, The Starbuck Times and the Pope County Tribune later in October.
This manufacturing tour will also highlight careers in manufacturing for students. A national campaign called “Dream It, Do It” reminds our future workforce that there are many exciting careers in manufacturing. World class manufacturing facilities, like those showcased on October 30, offer students a glimpse into a bright future, if they can just dream it.
I encourage you to take the time to go tour participating manufacturers on October 30. Bring the family and learn more about manufacturing as a career choice – it could lead to a better future.