Students from Morgan County Career & Technical Center attended a Manufacturing Day event at Y-12 National Security Complex. The event occurred in advance of the official Manufacturing Day (https://www.mfgday.com/), which is an annual celebration of manufacturing held the first Friday in October with the stated goal of inspiring the next generation of manufacturers.
The national shortage of skilled workers affects Y-12 as much, if not more than, other manufacturers. Mark Gokey of Construction Operations told the students that the company will soon be hiring several hundred skilled crafts workers over the next few years. “There’s a job out here for each and every one of you, if you want it,” he said.
By sponsoring a day of career exploration, Y-12’s managing and operating contractor Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC hopes to inspire these young people to pursue careers in the skilled trades. The students heard from experienced Teamsters, metal workers, pipefitters, electricians and more about the opportunities available for those with the right skills.
Mike Thompson, president of the Atomic Trades and Labor Council told the students that the panelists identify themselves as the “hands-on folks.” He and the other panelists stressed the importance of making good decisions now and as they prepare for the future, which is particularly important for jobs requiring a security clearance.
Some of the panelists had attended college and some started in other jobs before they entered the trades, and they were all emphatic about the fact that college is not for everyone. In fact, Tim Willis, a pipefitter from Morgan County, told the students there were two takeaways from the day: “There’s nothing wrong with working with your hands, and make good decisions.”