Jonesboro Chamber Sponsors Manufacturing Day

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 109 views 

Manufacturing is much more than pressing steel or driving a fork lift, several manufacturing officials said Thursday as the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Manufacturing Day.

Officials with Arkansas State University, Arkansas State University-Newport, Hytrol Conveyors, the chamber, AEDC Manufacturing Solutions and the Workforce Training Consortium visited Hytrol to talk about manufacturing and its future.

Earlier this summer, 12 area 7th and 8th graders participated in a technology camp called TekStarz. Shelle Randall, who coordinated the event for the chamber, said the five-day camp gave students an opportunity to learn teamwork, leadership and lessons in entrepreneurship.

The students also had an opportunity to visit several area businesses to learn more about manufacturing.

“It is a pipeline for talent,” Randall said of the camp.

The students were recommended by their teachers and counselors to participate in the program.

Phillip Poston, an official with Hytrol, said the increase in interest in manufacturing is important for companies like his. Poston said the students also had the opportunity to build stainless steel signs honoring ASU and others.

“In some form or fashion, we are all connected,” Poston said, comparing the steel that was constructed to manufacturing.

Chris Glenn, a vice president at Hytrol, said manufacturing has changed in recent years.

“It shows what is out there. We have had five record months in a row,” Glenn said of his company’s recent success. “It also shows that manufacturing has changed. It is more than just working a whole bunch.”

Charley Appleby with ASU-Newport said the program provides an opportunity for students to learn as well as building for their future.

“It provides a seamless opportunity for their career options,” Appleby said.

James Best, who owns Best Manufacturing and works with the Workforce Training Consortium, said Randall has played a key role in the program’s success. Randall said the program helps to support the success of the students and that it also motivates parents.

“We brought in the parents on the next to last day (of the program). The parents would see the faces of the students,” Randall said. “It really makes the difference.”

Randall said one student was definitely motivated.

“There was a girl who said she wanted to become a physician at NASA. Before that, she said she wanted to get her welding certificate to help pay for school,” Randall said.