Celebrating Manufacturing Day in Arkansas

 October 02, 2020

This week we are proud to bring awareness to National Manufacturing Day (MFGDAY).  MFG Day and the subsequent month-long celebration of the industry was established to showcase the great opportunities manufacturing has to offer.

This year’s MFGDAY will be a bit different. Virtual events will replace the plant tours of the past. You won’t want to miss two national flag ship events, A Program for America’s Students on October 2nd at 12pm and A Program for America’s Teachers on October 5th at 12pm. We encourage educators, students, parents, and industry partners to participate.

In Arkansas, manufacturing is a significant economic driver, contributing 18% of our state’s gross domestic product and employing 160,597 individuals. Manufacturing employs over 13% of our workforce, which is why many companies look to Arkansas as a desirable place to locate a manufacturing facility.

Unfortunately, the industry nationwide is facing a talent acquisition crisis that could threaten the success and growth of manufacturing companies in the foreseeable future.  Across the country, manufacturers are reporting a serious shortage of qualified applicants for production positions. The industry is facing the need for 4.6 million workers to meet the demand for Made-in-America goods over the next decade.


In the past three years, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission has conducted more than 2,000 face-to-face meetings with local manufacturing companies to understand their needs better. These companies have collectively reported that they could fill over 10,000 jobs if they had applicants that were trained and ready to work.   

To address the workforce development needs of the manufacturing industry, our team has worked with dozens of companies to launch a training course called Future Fit.    

We would like to recognize and thank the western Arkansas companies that played a significant role in developing and launching Future Fit: BekaertTraneGerberInternational PaperHSM SolutionsMAHLEGerdauGlatfelterRockline Industries, and Rheem.

Participants of Future Fit complete a training program that prepares them for entry-level employment with these companies. The first course takes approximately 120 hours of combined hands-on and online training. We are excited to collaborate with companies across Arkansas to expand the program statewide. 

Future Fit is currently offered at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Southern Arkansas University Tech, University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College, Black River Technical College, and University of Arkansas Cossatot Community College. The course will be available soon at Southeast Arkansas College.

With these initiatives, we strive to address a top priority of the state – to increase the satisfaction of Arkansas companies by meeting their workforce development needs. 

To learn more about the Future Fit initiative, click here.

To learn more about Manufacturing Day and to find an event near you, click here.

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