(Left to Right) Robert Zaruta, NWIRC President; PA State Representative Donna Oberlander;      (Right to Left) Operations Director, Christian Schweitzer; Plant Managers, Tim Reitz (Laminates), Jim Confer (Boards);                   (Far Back) Controller, Jared Beggs, along with Construction Technology students from Clarion County Career Center.

(Oct 2, 2019) Today, PA State Representative Donna Oberlander, along with Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC) President Robert Zaruta and students from Clarion County Career Center (CCCC), toured Clarion Industries in recognition of Manufacturing Day. Plant Managers, Jim Confer (Boards) and Tim Reitz (Laminates), led the group through the facility focusing on automation at the sites and the wide-array of job opportunities throughout both plants. Confer stated that he started at the company years ago as a sander, and is now the manager of the Boards Plant. Operations Director, Christian Schweitzer, and Controller, Jared Beggs, also contributed to highlighting the company and answering the student’s questions. The company currently has approximately 246 employees and, Beggs noted that they often promote within so there are many opportunities for advancement and learning new skills.

Paula Davis, Student Services Director at CCCC, brought along a group of students from the Construction Technology program. These students were able to see first-hand how the skills they are learning applies to a career at the company.

Representative Donna Oberlander (left) and NWIRC’s Bob Zaruta (right) with a group of Clarion County Career Center Construction Technology students shown with Clarion Industries’ fiberboard product ready to be shipped out to their customers.

“In order for manufacturers to grow and thrive, we need to ensure that the next generation is ready. The relationship between the Career Center and Clarion Industries not only exposes students to careers in manufacturing, but it also helps to prepare them for the world ahead of them,” Oberlander said. “Since earlier this year, we have spent a great deal of time at the state Capitol developing and passing policies that will assist job creators such as manufacturers and ensure that programs are in place so that our future workforce is equipped with the skills and training they need.” Oberlander, who Chairs the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Caucus, also worked at Clarion Industries earlier in her career.

“NWIRC arranged several tours this month because our mission is to help small to mid-sized manufacturers in our region grow and become more competitive. Part of that is spreading the word about great career opportunities in our own backyard,” said NWIRC’s Zaruta. NWIRC will also kick off the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing student video contest this month with teacher training. NWIRC serves a 13-county region of northwestern PA with a mission to help manufacturers grow and become more competitive.

Launched annually on the first Friday in October with events continuing throughout the month, MFG Day helps show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders. Across the country, manufacturers small and large will be hosting students of all ages in their facilities, showcasing a vibrant and growing industry that is vital to our economy. Manufacturers across the country will open their doors to open more minds and highlight how modern manufacturers are solving tomorrow’s challenges today.

Last year, 275,000 people participated in nearly 3,000 MFG Day events across North America (these are just the events listed on the MFG Day website)—and more than 80 percent of students said they became more convinced that manufacturing provides interesting and rewarding careers after attending these events. Pennsylvania celebrates MFG Day during the first week of October. Manufacturing is at the heart of Pennsylvania’s economy:*

• 8th largest manufacturing industry in the United States
• $93.7 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018
• 570,400+ employees
• 18,900+ manufacturing locations

*PA Dept. of L&I, QCEW, 2018 Annual; bea.gov Regional Economic Accounts 2018.

More info can be found at www.MFGDAY.com .