High school and college students seeking career paths were invited to NewAge Industries Inc. in Southampton, Pa., to see what the extrusion of plastic and rubber into various kinds of corrugated, convoluted and braid-reinforced tubes and hoses — sometimes in clean rooms — is all about.
The 69-year-old company, which also injection molds fittings, clamps and accessories, is among some 400 businesses participating in this year's MFG Day, officially recognized as taking place the first Friday of October but generally recognized throughout the month.
"NewAge Industries joins Manufacturing Day for the first time to challenge stereotypes surrounding U.S. manufacturing. We aim to spotlight its diverse skill sets and workforce, dispelling the notion of it being exclusively blue-collar," NewAge Marketing Specialist Jessica Koob said in an email.
MFG Day is considered manufacturing's biggest annual opportunity to inspire the next generation, positively shift perceptions about the industry and build the manufacturing workforce of the future.
Dozens of companies with ties to the plastics industry are participating in MFG Day 2023 with facility tours, career fairs, manufacturing expos and community events.
Founded by the Washington-based Manufacturing Institute, the nonprofit workforce development and education affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, MFG Day aims to line up prospective hires for some of the 800,000-plus jobs open in manufacturing.
Manufacturing businesses will need to fill more than 4 million jobs during the next decade, the institute says.
NewAge Industries currently has almost 300 employees and is looking to fill positions in sales and engineering.
"Our primary challenge lies in identifying and attracting talent with expertise in plastic extrusion, a specialized field crucial to our operations," Koob said.
For MFG Day, the company focused on high school and college students with hopes to build a talent pool to tap later. Visitors went on a full tour that showed every facet of the operation, from manufacturing processes and quality control standards to human resources practices, information technology infrastructure, engineering, and marketing and sales.
"Our aim is to leave a lasting impression of NewAge Industries as a dynamic and inclusive organization where manufacturing transcends stereotypes, embracing a diverse skill set and workforce," Koob said.
To entice prospective hires, Koob touts that NewAge Industries has an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which means employees are co-owners and share in the company's success, and is a B Corp.
"We're committed to making a positive impact on our community and the environment while ensuring that our employees have a stake in our company's future and growth," she said.