An inside look: MFG Day helps area students get glimpse into manufacturing sector


More than 300 students got an inside look at the manufacturing sector Oct. 7 during MFG Day, which was designed to showcase related careers to the next generation of workers.

MFG Day, an initiative of The Manufacturing Institute and supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, was held Oct. 7 and brought 315 students to the INDEX Corporation in Noblesville, where students got a tour of the facility. The company is a machining manufacturer and employs 70 people in Noblesville, said John Huntzer, marketing coordinator with INDEX Corporation.

Approximately 65 students from Creekside Middle School in Carmel, Hamilton Heights Middle School in Arcadia and Legacy Christian School in Noblesville visited Conner Prairie to learn about the history of manufacturing and then visited the INDEX Corporation, where students visited a variety of stations to learn about the use of technology, robots and cobots in advanced manufacturing settings.

“This is a great example of the innovative approach The Pursuit Institute incorporates with career and technical education. Centered on the collaboration with Conner Prairie, INDEX, Helmer Scientific, RZ Automation and Schafer, we are engaging middle school students from across Hamilton County in a truly one-of-a-kind experience centered on advanced manufacturing and innovation,” said Kyle Marshall, deputy director of The Pursuit Institute.

Other than students from The Pursuit Institute, which was formerly named the Hamilton County Center for Career Achievement, the INDEX Corporation hosted 250 students from Noblesville High School, KIPP Indy Public Schools, Vincennes University and the Aviation Institute of Maintenance. Cris Taylor, president and CEO of the INDEX Corporation, said it is a passion of his to expose students to the world of manufacturing.

Taylor said he wants students to know that manufacturing isn’t a dirty, smelly job and is high-tech.

“It’s become an incredibly good career to go into,” Taylor said, noting that individuals can earn high salaries.

On average, there are approximately 800,000 open jobs per month nationwide in manufacturing with the average annual income of U.S. manufacturing employees in 2020 being $92,832, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. There were 834,000 job openings in July, according to the NAM.

Branden Reinert, a materials specialist at INDEX Corporation, was among the employees discussing his role at the business as students visited stations around the facility. Reinert has been employed at the INDEX Corporation for approximately 10 years and said making the facility available to students gave them an opportunity to see what manufacturing is all about.

“You kind of get a pulse of things that are happening,” Reinert said. “That’s what keeps everything going. Manufacturing is what makes the parts for everything.”

Taylor also said it’s important to get young people interested in manufacturing as a possible career, especially as people continue to retire. He added that students don’t necessarily need a college degree to go into manufacturing, noting that he didn’t have a college education and eventually ended up as INDEX’s president and CEO.

Taylor offered advice for individuals considering a career in manufacturing and encouraged them to explore different companies and what they have to offer.

“See what alternative careers you can do to get into manufacturing,” he said.