In celebration of Manufacturing Day 2018, Wall Colmonoy Aerobraze OKC in Oklahoma City, Okla., will open its doors on Friday, Oct. 12 to students from local Career Techs and high schools as part of an effort to inspire the next generation of opportunities that a career in manufacturing can provide.

Planned activities at Aerobraze OKC include tours of the facility and equipment and product manufacturing demonstrations of machining, welding, brazing and fabrication. The day will also include a hands-on activity intended to showcase Aerobraze’s expertise in sheet-metal fabrication. Blueprints and work instructions will be provided for the students to assemble an item made from cut, bent, milled and drilled sheet-metal fabricated parts. Each student will leave with a gift bag that contains an F-15 fighter jet made from metal pieces cut by water jet and slip-fitted together. Aerobraze OKC develops and manufactures heat exchangers for the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 fighter jets.

“With the ever-increasing skills gap for manufacturing jobs, we want to get young people excited and educate them about manufacturing as a career choice,” said Mark Saffell, Aerobraze OKC operations manager. “The average age of workers in the manufacturing sector, as of 2017 Oklahoma state data, is 45 years of age. Only 2% employed in manufacturing are under age 20 and 7% under the age of 24. In the upcoming decade, this will leave a huge skills shortage gap. We hope opening up our doors to the local Oklahoma City community will encourage the younger generation into manufacturing careers.”

Manufacturing Day is an annual national event taking place at various manufacturing companies across the U.S. during the month of October. It is executed at the local level supported by thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses, plant tours and presentations designed to showcase modern manufacturing technology and careers.