Local middle school and high school pupils are joining 1,600 students from 40 schools in several different states in jumpstarting their future careers, networking with local professionals and gaining eye-opening insights during Honda MFG Day activities hosted during the last week and also throughout October.
While MFG Day is officially celebrated nationwide Friday, Oct 6, Honda facilities began hosting students in late September for the hands-on experiences and tours of the facilities, including visits to the East Liberty Plant Sept. 27, and to the Marysville Auto Plant Sept. 29.
Also coming up Friday, Oct. 13, students from several area schools, including Indian Lake, Jackson Center, Ada, Kenton and Wapakoneta school districts, will visit the Honda Transmission Plant in Russells Point.
“Honda has a great MFG Day tradition, and our associates enjoy giving students a close up, hands-on look at modern manufacturing,” said Bob Schwyn, senior vice president at Honda Development and Manufacturing of America, LLC, about the activities that take place at nine Honda facilities, also in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana and the Carolinas.
“Honda associates are passionate about making things and Manufacturing Day is a great opportunity for us to encourage the next generation to consider a career in modern manufacturing.”
At the East Liberty Plant, 150 pupils from Bellefontaine, West Liberty-Salem and River Valley schools and the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center had the chance to talk one-on-one with associates and were particularly impressed during their tour of the plant, said Meredith Reffey, Honda workforce initiatives leader.
“They had no idea what to expect on the tour, as many of the students had never been inside a manufacturing plant before. I think the main reaction was shock, just at the sheer size of the plant and all of the activity. They really enjoyed themselves.”
During their tour, the students learned how technology, automation and teamwork influence Honda’s advanced manufacturing process and how those processes come together to create a variety of Honda and Acura products produced at the company’s U.S. facilities.
While the students were on site, associates walked them through a number of hands-on activities. The pupils were particularly drawn to the virtual reality activities, and also enjoyed a more “low-tech” competition as well, Reffey noted.
“The virtual reality was a really big hit; they really flocked to that. Logan County Commissioner Joe Antram joined them there as well to try out the virtual reality experience.
“The students also loved a LEGO car building assembly line challenge, where they competed to see who could be the fastest to assemble a car, and without any defects.
“Their teachers have told us that the students don’t just want to be talked at or to watch a video. They want hands-on, real life experiences that will stick with them. Our goal was for their time at the plant to be enjoyable and engaging.”
At the Marysville Auto Plant, pupils from OHPCC and Triad Schools enjoyed a similar tour of the facility and hands-on activities.
Participants visiting the local facilities also had an opportunity to torque bolt race and a bolt stacking game, highlighting assembly jobs. They also toured the Dyno Operations department to learn about quality testing careers and can participate in a large pedal tricycle race, highlighting the opportunities available with the Honda America Racing Team.
To help make connections for students between their current education and potential future manufacturing career pathways, partners from area colleges also were on site for the MFG Days at ELP and MAP to detail some of their specific programming for a variety of interests, from engineering to IT and etc. OSU Marion participated in the ELP MFG Day, and representatives from Columbus State Community College, The Ohio State University, Ohio Northern University and the West Central Ohio Career Pathway attended the MAP MFG Day.
For the local associates participating in MFG Day, the experience was quite rewarding as well with the chance to pass along their expertise and interests to the next generation.
“The associates get to take a little break from their regular work day and get to show off about their jobs a little bit and all of the cool things that they get to do. It’s a great method for sharing their passion,” Reffey said.
A Honda associate at the East Liberty Plant shows a River Valley School student how to interact with a manufacturing control panel during MFG Day. (HONDA PHOTO)