Area high school students had the opportunity to tour several local manufacturers on Wednesday, Oct. 2 in celebration of National Manufacturing Day.

The surrounding schools that had the opportunity to tour local companies were Wahpeton, Hankinson, Richland, Milnor, Wyndmere, Lidgerwood, Campbell-Tintah and Fairmount.

Having a day dedicated to manufacturing is meant to inspire and educate the next generation for modern manufacturing careers. Local manufacturers displayed their products and exhibited their operations to students to present career opportunities.

Students had the opportunity to look inside local manufacturers for a chance to see first-hand the design and implementation process these companies have when creating a product.

The city of Wahpeton coordinated with Bigwood, Bobcat, Inc., ComDel Innovation, GIANT Snacks, Inc., North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS), WCCO Belting, Wil-Rich, and Woodcraft to provide tours to students. Local manufacturers were able to exhibit their equipment and provide an overview of the process of product creation.

Tana Erbes, a program outreach specialist at NDSCS, said the tour is a great opportunity for students to learn about local manufacturing and how NDSCS programs can prepare them for these careers.

“There are a lot of opportunities in trade and technology right now. There are so many students that don’t know they can get good jobs in these fields,” Erbes said.

The day helped students understand the type of schooling necessary to gain skills and also the type of jobs they can attain.

At NDSCS, students had a variety of opportunities. In the precision machining technology tour, students saw how precise machines had to be to produce an accurate product. In robotics, automation and mechatronics technology facilities, they saw how a robot can be designed to perform programmed tasks in facilities. Observing welding, the students learned the importance of fusing and cutting metal while seeing machines that are used in this process.

WCCO tours were led by leadership and production teams from all departments. Students were able to see how WCCO creates rubber belts for agriculture, light industrial, construction, sand, and gravel, packaging and recycling industries. Part of the tour included hands-on activities.

Manufacturing is changing due to the advancement of technology. Consequently, there is a high degree of importance to educate the next generation of workers for this modern career.

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