Manufacturing facilities and educational institutions around the nation recently opened their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders in observance of Manufacturing (MFG) Day. Locally, Annin Flagmakers in South Boston hosted Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s Career Tech Academy (CTA) Year 1 students for a tour of the plant.

Organized by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, the Oct. 4 tour gave students a behind the scenes look at the local manufacturer, giving them an opportunity to see how IT and mechatronics impact the industry. 

“Annin Flagmakers was excited to host the students from SVHEC for a tour of our manufacturing facility,” said Tammy Creasy, Annin human resource generalist. “It is always a pleasure to see students interested in the manufacturing process and the different types of jobs offered, from director of operations to graphic artists, chemists, digital print operators and sewing machine operators as well as many more. We appreciate SVHEC and the students for wanting to tour our facility and learn about manufacturing in our area,” she said.

Divyank Patel, a senior at Halifax County High School, found the tour both interesting and informative.

“I think the way they dye the fabric for the flags was one of the most interesting parts of the tour,” he said, “and the machines that they do the printing on.”

Celebrated annually on the first Friday in October, the purpose of MFG Day is to address common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to show, in a coordinated effort, what modern manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. By working together, manufacturers hope to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the entire industry.

CTA Level 2 students had an opportunity to spend MFG Day at an event at the Commonwealth Center of Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) in Prince George County. The event included workshops and demonstrations, with college and university personnel on hand to help students determine which educational pathway was best for them.

“Manufacturing Day at CCAM was a great experience for both me and my students. It allowed me to see the success stories of students going through trade schools and college,” said Quiana Clark, CTA Level 2 instructor. “The students were able to see how IT and mechatronics work together to create real world products for various companies and industries.”

CTA student Jalil Smith agreed saying, “I thought CCAM was a very advanced organization with hardworking employees. They had a great welcoming, and they gave everyone great information to look into for the future. CCAM showed everyone that there are a lot of opportunities in the engineering field. You just have to apply yourself.”

Today’s manufacturing jobs are highly skilled and take place in some of the most exciting, innovative work environments. The SVHEC Career Tech Academy helps prepare students for future employment in manufacturing and technology industries. The academy is a year-long hands-on training program available to high school students in 11th and 12th grade from Halifax, Charlotte and Mecklenburg counties.

Students may earn high school and community college credit, the Career Studies Certificate through Southside Virginia Community College and industry-recognized certifications.

Year 1 students work in real workplace labs and utilize soft skills to prepare them with the knowledge and certifications required for employment in southern Virginia’s manufacturing and technology industries.

The focus of a Year 2 CTA student (seniors only) is to enhance the hands-on experience in the workforce through internships, job shadowing or mentoring.

For more information about the Career Tech Academy, visit www.svhec.org/cta.