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Campus Events Tout Manufacturing

Since the day it opened its doors in 1892, NC State has been the largest contributor to the state’s traditional manufacturing base, from basic mechanical and industrial engineering to the university’s unique academic and research work in textiles.

That history, and North Carolina’s bright future in high-tech American-made manufacturing, will be on display Friday, Oct. 4, during the second-annual National Manufacturing Day on Centennial Campus, as representatives from multiple colleges will be on hand to show off NC State’s leading role in rebuilding a primary economic driver for a state that ranks sixth nationally in manufacturing jobs.

Included in the day-long activities, organized by NC State’s Industrial Extension Service, will be two screenings of “The American Made Movie,” a documentary detailing the demise and gradual rebirth of goods and products wholly produced in the United States. The film features a number of iconic manufacturers like Louisville Slugger and New Balance.

The movie – by filmmakers Nathaniel Thomas McGil and Vincent Vittorio – was released in select theaters in major markets in September, but will have its North Carolina premier at the Hunt Library in the second-floor multipurpose rooms. Screenings are slated for noon and 2 p.m.

Inside a lab at BTEC.
NC State’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center helps students acquire career-ready skills in a growing industry.

Other events include scheduled tours of the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center, the College of Textiles and the Constructed Facilities Laboratory. The Hunt Library will also have displays highlighting the contributions of the Industrial Systems Engineering Department and the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative.

All events are open to faculty, staff and public, though some require an advanced reservation.

This is NC State’s first major participation in the budding event, but the activities on campus will be the largest gathering of the more than 20 events across the state.

Other colleges or departments can still participate in Manufacturing Day activities by hosting a tour or setting up a display booth at the Hunt Library. Contact coordinator Cheryl Smith, the NC State Industrial Extension Service’s director of client and market development, by phone at (252) 670-2182 or by email at

Manufacturing Rebound

After 15 years of decline, when North Carolina suffered the most manufacturing losses of any southern state, there has been a net gain in manufacturing jobs in both  2011 and 2012, according to a recent study.

Manufacturing, with some 440,000 jobs statewide, now contributes more than $80 billion to North Carolina’s economy, or roughly 20 percent. While that’s not as much as the old days when furniture, textiles and tobacco were king, the manufacturing base is returning in style, as companies in growing fields such as pharmaceuticals, aviation and transportation account for about 80 percent of the state’s manufacturing base.

Gov. Pat McCrory has designated next Friday as Manufacturing Day in North Carolina as part of the national effort to help remake the image of the once declining segment of the American economy. A new manufacturing base – moving away from the state’s traditional unskilled jobs in textiles and furniture manufacturing – needs well-trained workers in high-tech, lucrative positions that are currently vacant. A 2012 study found more than 600,000 unfilled jobs nationally because of a gap between job requirements and the skills of the applicants.

Manufacturers are looking to campuses such as NC State and North Carolina’s well-developed system of community colleges to train the workers and managers that can fill those positions. The average wage for those positions is more than $53,000, a third higher than the state’s non-manufacturing jobs.