Organizations Partner to Celebrate Manufacturing Week
The Watertown Development Company, Watertown Workforce Advisory Council and area manufacturers are highlighting the importance of manufacturing during South Dakota Manufacturing week October 1-5.
Several events are planned, including trolley tours on Tuesday with Mayor Sarah Caron, hosted area manufacturing tours, and the 3rd Annual Manufacturing Olympics on Wednesday.
Michelle Kakacek, Director of Business Development for Watertown Development Company, plans and organizes events for manufacturing week in Watertown with the help of a committee from the Watertown Workforce Advisory Council. She said, “Because Watertown is so well represented by the manufacturing industry sector, the events are a meaningful and important way to expose students, educators and elected officials to the diverse and valuable career opportunities that exist in manufacturing.”
Manufacturers in South Dakota account for 9.2 percent of the total output in the state, employing 9.6 percent of the workforce.
The manufacturing sector is one of Watertown’s largest employers and the need to fill jobs in this field is higher than ever before. Lisa Johnson, Manager of the Watertown South Dakota Department of Labor office said, “In our service area, which includes the counties of Codington, Clark, Deuel, Hamlin, Grant, and Roberts, we have 161 openings listed today.”
Analysts predict that more than 3.5 million advanced manufacturing positions will open up in the next decade. These jobs are high paying, high tech, advanced careers that require specific education and training.
Lake Area Tech (LATI) in Watertown is preparing students to work in manufacturing fields where many jobs pay upwards of $50,000. The school offers hands-on training in state-of-the-art facilities using the latest equipment and technology with faculty who understand today’s advanced manufacturing skill requirements. Lake Area Tech President Mike Cartney said, “Lake Area Tech prepares students for careers in welding, robotics and automation, precision machining and computer automated design. The classes offered teach advanced manufacturing skills including how to program, operate and repair robots, and how to use hydraulics and precision machining to create prototypes with 3D drawings.”
Tours during manufacturing week are open to the public. To sign up, please contact Michelle Kakacek at 605-884-0340. The Manufacturing Olympics are open to employees only of manufacturers but the public is welcome to attend as spectators. The Manufacturing Olympics will take place on Wednesday, October 3rd at 5:30 p.m. at the Park and Rec Field House located at 1900 West Kemp Avenue, Watertown. For more information on all the events that are planned during manufacturing week in Watertown, visit www.wdcsd.com.