Ashley goes virtual with manufacturing day

Published 9:30 am Thursday, October 29, 2020

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ARCADIA, Wisc. – October is National Manufacturing Month and Ashley Furniture Industries (Ashley) is still celebrating despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although in-person events and tours are unable to happen this year, nearly 2,000 middle school students surrounding the company’s advanced-manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi have been invited for an educational virtual tour.

Students will see career opportunities available within the company from operating a machine to designing furniture. Students will also learn about the importance of manufacturing and the economic benefits of the industry.

Manufacturing month kicks off annually with National Manufacturing Day, originated by the National Association of Manufacturers, on the first Friday of October. National Manufacturing Day is the industry’s biggest initiative to build excitement around the future of the modern manufacturing workforce and engage with students to demonstrate the exciting opportunities within the industry.

“We are passionate about inspiring future creators by exposing them to the incredible career pathways that modern manufacturing offers,” said Todd Wanek, President and CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries. “Manufacturing is a rapidly advancing industry and it needs our help to ensure the future jobs are not left unfilled.”

Davie County middle schools took part in the day.

“Career exploration for young students has a significant impact on student’s future career path selections,” said Anthony Davis, Davie County School District Director of CTE and federal programs.

“By providing opportunities like this, Ashley Furniture is showing our students opportunities in their own communities they may not have been aware of,” Davis said. “We would like to acknowledge the effort Ashley has put in to allow us to continue our annual Manufacturing Day tour in a virtual platform.”

Ashley developed a number of partnerships with K-12 as well as post-secondary schools over the past five years. Combined efforts have included investing in STEM-based learning opportunities, scholarships, providing students with exposure to technical trades and career opportunities, instructor training, and robotics programs. As manufacturing continues to advance and the global economy evolves, training and educating current and future workforce will be crucial.