Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will connect with more than 10,000 students, primarily eighth graders, through Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) events during October 2017.
The company is hosting Cooper Manufacturing Experience activities as part of the national “Dream It. Do It.” program, which aims to enhance the image of careers in manufacturing.
“Dream It. Do It.” is sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Manufacturing Institute (MI). This is Cooper’s third year to participate in the program.
Cooper will focus on the communities where it has major facilities—Findlay, Ohio; Texarkana, Ark. and Tupelo, Miss. In addition to participating in community-wide efforts, the company will host its own Cooper Manufacturing Experience events. These highly interactive, hands-on events have been planned by the company’s Dream Team, a group of 40 employees from across Cooper who work with students and others all year long in efforts to educate and improve the image of careers in manufacturing to help strengthen the future workforce pipeline.
“Manufacturing is technology driven, fast paced and offers exciting career opportunities, but it can be challenging to attract employees. Many students today are not focused on careers in manufacturing and, unfortunately, great jobs go unfilled,” says John Bollman, Cooper’s senior vice president and chief human resources officer.
“Cooper is working to attract students to manufacturing careers by giving young people hands-on experience that mimics what it’s like to work in the tire industry. Over the past several years we have reached nearly 30,000 students through these events, and we hope as they think about a career path in the future they will consider jobs in manufacturing and some of the great opportunities available at Cooper.”
According to a nationwide survey commissioned by NAM in 2016, 89% of students participating in MFG Day events felt more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities, and 64% reported being more motivated to pursue a career in manufacturing. This is increasingly important as over the next decade it is estimated that nearly 3.5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will be needed and 2 million of those jobs are expected to go unfilled due to manufacturers’ challenge to find talent with the required skills.
Abbey Kindler, senior engineering technician for Cooper Tire’s Global Technical Center, said, “I joined Cooper’s Dream Team because I have found an amazing career in manufacturing, and I want to show young people there is so much more to the industry than meets the eye. Through this experience I am able to share my career path, answer questions, and debunk myths about working in the industry. It is important that students, as well as their parents and teachers, are shown the wide array of possibilities offered through manufacturing. It can truly be the ticket to a rewarding career.”
While MFG Day is officially Oct. 6 this year, the Cooper Manufacturing Experience will be offered to students throughout the month of October.
Findlay, Ohio, Oct. 3-6
In Findlay, where Cooper’s global headquarters, technical facilities and a tire manufacturing/distribution facility are located, approximately 1,000 students from 11 schools will visit Oct. 3 to 6 to experience eight different interactive stations ranging from raw materials and tire design—including 3D modeling—to tire assembly, mold design and curing, as well as tire finishing and testing. Safety will be emphasized and human resources and marketing, as well as several other functions, to give students an understanding of the dozens of roles involved in the design, production, distribution, and sales and marketing of Cooper tires. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in an interactive session with United Steelworkers Local 207L, and Findlay-based companies Ohio Logistics, Findlay Machine and Tool Inc. and GSW Manufacturing Inc. will provide additional manufacturing demonstrations and hands-on activities. In conjunction, locally-headquartered manufacturer Rowmark, LLC will provide students with facility and plant tours at their Findlay location.
Texarkana, Ark., Oct. 11-13
In Texarkana, Ark., where Cooper has a tire manufacturing/distribution facility, approximately 2,000 students from six middle and junior high schools will come to the Texarkana Convention Center Oct. 11 to 13 to experience the same interactive stations that will be featured as part of the Findlay event with an expanded number of additional stations including engineering, IT, lab, and warehousing/distribution.
Tupelo, Miss., Oct. 3-5 and Oct. 19-20
In Tupelo, Miss., where Cooper has a tire production/distribution facility, the company will participate in the local Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo Oct. 3 to 5 at the BancorpSouth Arena and Conference Center. Approximately 7,000 eighth grade students will attend the Expo, which is an annual local event that will feature dozens of area businesses giving students a glimpse into many different career options, including manufacturing and Cooper. In addition, the Cooper Dream Team will host the Cooper Manufacturing Experience on site at Tupelo High School on Oct. 19 and 20, when some 1,200 students will experience many of the same interactive stations that Findlay and Texarkana will offer.
Students who attend the Cooper Manufacturing Experience in all three communities will be encouraged to share their experiences through social media using #CooperCareers and #MFGDay17, which will expand awareness of manufacturing to family and friends across the U.S.
The Manufacturing Institute (MI) launched Dream It. Do It. in 2005. The program works to inspire next-generation workers to pursue manufacturing careers. Members of the Dream It. Do It. network gain access to national support and resources to aid their pro-manufacturing efforts and join a network of industry leaders that implement activities to meet local, regional and statewide workforce needs.
For more information about Cooper, visit the company's website.