MiMfg Magazine September 2017 - Page 13

Y September 2017 our business is more important to your community than you realize. Manufacturing means more than just jobs or investment dollars to your town. Manufacturing provides a sense of pride and belonging to people. It gives them a chance to drive past your local facility, smile and feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves — a business that improves the lives of people around the world. That is part of me. My family helped build this. Those are powerful thoughts but the most successful communities don’t just have communities who support their manufacturers, they have manufacturers that support their communities. Neither the business nor the town can reach its full potential without the other’s continuing engagement. Unfortunately, much of manufacturing’s impact on local communities is not publicized. Each year, ac cording to the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturers put millions of dollars and countless resources into local efforts and charities. Many of the more than 600,000 people employed in manufacturing contribute countless hours of their time to making their community as great as it can be. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.81 is added to the economy. The influence a successful manufacturer can have on its hometown is immense. MMA reached out to five well- known industry leaders for examples of manufacturers reaching out to their community. As you read these unique, but not uncommon stories of local manufacturers, consider these questions: Wolverine Coil Spring Makes Talent a Top Priority in Grand Rapids Successful manufacturers recognize that the health and vibrancy of our local community has a direct impact on its business and its employees. Wolverine Coil Spring has adopted a triple-bottom line focus so our mission specifically calls out “actively participating in improving our community” as a key purpose. This underlying mission ensures all employees feel empowered to get involved in community activities. “Partnerships between manufacturers and educators are always in demand, so connecting with your local school district, ISD, community college, or four-year institution is an important starting point for any manufacturer’s community “ We are constantly asking ourselves what role could or should a manufacturer play in this community development challenge. Are we doing enough? Can we do more? ” — Jay Dunwell Wolverine Coil Spring Co. MiMfg Magazine engagement effort,” says Jay Dunwell, president, Wolverine Coil Spring Co. Workforce development has been a long-term focus of Wolverine’s community efforts. Local efforts like MiCareerQuest (www.micareerquest.org), Discover Manufacturing (www.discover- manufacturing.com) and participation in National MFG Day (www.mfgday. com) are fun career exploration efforts that impact perceptions of manufacturing careers. Discover Manufacturing is, by design, a collaboration or educators, workforce developers, economic developers and manufacturers; always interested in connecting with more manufacturers to help with their talent needs. As part of our partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools Union High School and Kent ISD, Wolverine recently sponsored a 3-D printer and supplies for students to have a 3-D printer in their classroom and to bring manufacturing to life in a hands-on fashion. “A challenge we and others are trying to improve is the disparity of economic success and opportunity,” remarks Dunwell. “Certain geographical areas have much higher unemployment and have not been lifted by the economic wave so many others in Grand Rapids have enjoyed. We are constantly asking ourselves what role could or should a manufacturer play in this community development challenge. Are we doing enough? Can we do more?” • Is your business making a positive impact on the local community? • Is the mission of your business tied to the vision of your community? • What resources can you provide to make tomorrow better than today? • Is there something more you can do to build relationships within your hometown? These are some of the questions all manufacturer must ask themselves because if manufacturing doesn’t lead local communities, who will? The team at Wolverine Coil Spring know how to have fun with their community through exciting events all year long. 13