Manufacturing Day is an annual event sponsored nationally by the Manufacturing Institute, which is part of the National Association of Manufacturers. One day, several years ago, the Las Vegas Global Alliance held an informative conference on the nature of the event which was attended by the Chairman of Mesquite Works, George Gault.
Gault spent a lifetime in Economic Development and knows the first step in planning a long term strategy for any area is to provide an opportunity for those in the area to earn a living wage. He also knows that college isn’t always the best path for some young people to take to ensure those earnings. He doesn’t discourage a college education but knows that they aren’t possible for everyone; especially in rural areas.
Most manufacturing jobs do provide a living wage and don’t require a college degree; just hard work and determination to advance in any company.
As chairman of Mesquite Works Gault’s commitment to youth and the community was to seek out those opportunities and he began with the Manufactures that were already right here in Mesquite. He organized a committee of people composed of employers; high school personnel, Clark County and Littlefield School Districts, and Mesquite Works volunteers who brought Manufacture’s Day here to Mesquite.
This is the third year Gault has organized the event for Mesquite which was kicked off at the City Council meeting on October 23. A proclamation was signed by Mayor Litman recognizing October 24, as Manufacturing Day in Mesquite
The intent of the event is to expose young people to the manufacturing environment, help them understand what employers are looking for, and to the potential of a career in manufacturing.
On Manufacture’s Day this year, almost 80 young people from Virgin Valley, Moapa Valley and Beaver Dam high schools toured Primex, Load Tec, and Do It Best. They rotated between the three companies so that every student got to visit all three facilities. When everyone had completed the tour, they met back at Primex for pizza and soft drinks, which were graciously provided by Primex.
Gault stated that one of the most important lessons taught by the employees of the companies were that there was opportunity for advancement within. Most had begun their careers while young and worked their way up to management and beyond while being quite happy with the wages earned and they did it without a degree; the participating companies offered them training from within or tuition assistance in some cases.
Offering young residents’ opportunity is also important, it’s Gault’s second most important strategy when developing any community; keeping youth at home. Not in their parents’ home, their own homes, in the community they grew up in and are invested in. Gault said, “They need a community that offers them the opportunity to grow and support a family; if the opportunity isn’t there, the youth most likely won’t be either.”
Many of Mesquite youth go off to college and subsequently off to other areas that offer their chosen careers a chance. Approximately one third of the youth does not leave home and they are absorbed into the labor market right here in Mesquite; many into the hospitality industry where there are a few positions that will earn them a living wage but are seasonal and unsteady. Manufacturing jobs will provide them not only the living wage and the opportunity for advancement but steady employment, paychecks and benefits; Primex gave that opportunity to four young residents just last year.
Beaver Dam Students were especially excited and grateful to be included in the tour. The tour for BD students was arranged by Virgin Valley High School’s business teacher, Yori Ludvingston,
Teachers from Beaver Dam expressed the following, “While the production lines are impressive to look at, a more important aspect of this trip is the chance to speak with owners and managers of these companies. Information is given and myths debunked. The biggest myth in education for the past several decades is that a college degree is the only way to make a living. Professional careers can be wonderful, challenging, and if you a person is in the right field, financially rewarding. What Manufacturing Day showed seniors is that all these things are attainable even when taking a different training track. Loadtec, DoitBest and Primex were all companies that do on sight training and allow growth within the company. For new high school grads, this approach to gaining higher skills is more like the training and apprenticeship model used for centuries. There is a condition. None of these companies wanted people who didn’t want to work and learn. That was a universal condition-hard work, responsible attitudes and conscientious character were all pre-requisites for success in these companies. These are real life skills. This was an informative day for BDHS students and we wish to thank VVHS’s Yori Ludvingston, and the people at Loadtec, DoitBest, Primex and George Gault for their time.”
The Manufacture’s Day planning committee included: Kim Woolsey from Primex, Dave Ballweg from Load Tec, Dalton Raney from Do It Best, Hal Mortensen, Principal of Moapa Valley High School, Yori Ludvigson, teacher at Virgin Valley High School, Darwin Rawlins, Counselor at Beaver Dam High School, Darlene McCawley, Superintendent of the Littlefield Unified School District, Nikki Meador, School Bus Coordinator for the Clark County School District, Colton Teerlink of Mesquite Region Economic Development, and George Gault, of Mesquite Works.