Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. recently marked its fifth year as a member of the Dream It. Do It." program, sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers and Manufacturing Institute.
As part of the program, Cooper Tire will again connect with more than 10,000 students -- primarily eighth graders -- for 2019 Manufacturing Day events on Oct. 4 and throughout October. The company will focus on communities where it has major manufacturing facilities: Findlay, Ohio; Texarkana, Ark.; and Tupelo, Miss.
In addition to participating in two community-wide local efforts, Cooper will host its own “Manufacturing Experience,” which includes highly interactive activities planned by the company’s Dream Team, a group of approximately 40 early-career employees from across the company who volunteer to showcase the advantages of careers in manufacturing throughout the year.
“As one of just two global tire companies headquartered in the United States, and with a legacy in manufacturing that spans 105 years, Cooper is focused on addressing our nation’s shortage of manufacturing workers," says John Bollman, Cooper’s chief human resources officer. "A recent Deloitte/MI study revealed that an estimated 2.4 million positions in manufacturing will be left unfilled between 2018 and 2028. There is a wide gap between jobs that need to be filled and a talent pool of those who are capable and want to fill them.
"That is why our company is so invested in efforts like Manufacturing Day that seek to reverse negative perceptions of manufacturing among students at an early age. We must show them, at a point in their lives when their career aspirations are just being formed, how rewarding jobs in manufacturing can be. It’s one important way that we’ll help to inspire the workforce of the next generation and strengthen the future workforce pipeline.”
In Findlay, the company will participate in a community-wide effort coordinated by Raise the Bar, a local workforce development program, in cooperation with Millstream Career Center and Owens Community College. This event will bring approximately 1,000 eighth grade students from 11 schools together to experience manufacturing at five different companies: Cooper, Rowmark LLC, GSW Manufacturing Inc., Whirlpool Corp. and Valfilm LLC.
In Texarkana, approximately 2,000 students from 14 middle and junior high schools will come to the Texarkana Convention Center Oct. 29-31 for the Cooper Manufacturing Experience. They will visit more than one dozen interactive stations that cover all aspects of the design, production, marketing and sale of tires from raw materials through mixing, curing, finishing, warehousing and shipping. In addition, students will learn about information technology, accounting, human resources and other career options aligned to manufacturing. Students also will take part in a Tread Wisely tire safety demonstration led by Cooper Dream Team members and others.
In Tupelo, the company will participate in the local Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo Oct. 1-3 at the BancorpSouth Arena. More than 7,000 eighth grade students are expected to attend the Expo, which is an annual local event that will feature dozens of companies. The experience will give students a glimpse into many different career options, including manufacturing jobs at Cooper. In addition, the Cooper Dream Team will host the Cooper Manufacturing Experience on site at Tupelo High School on Oct. 17 and 18.
Students who attend the Cooper Manufacturing Experience in all three communities will be encouraged to share their experiences through social media using #CooperCareers and #MFGDay19.