RDA Happenings September 2015
Posted on September 1, 2015 – By Emporia RDA
At the September 16th City Commission meeting a Proclamation was unanimously passed declaring October 2, 2015 as “Manufacturing Day”. Julie Cooper from Flint Hills Technical College (FHTC), Brian Potter from Sim-mons Pet Food and RDA President Kent Heermann attended.
According to the U.S. Census 2013 County Business Patterns for Lyon County, the average annual salary for private sector jobs is $30,468. The average annual salary for manufacturing jobs is $41,980. Manufacturing rep-resents approximately one quarter of the total private sector jobs in Lyon County and approximately one third of the total private sector payroll.
Manufacturing is ranked 3rd in Lyon County for the highest average annual salary, behind the industrial sector of Utilities ($86,182) and Mining, Quarrying and Oil & Gas Exploration ($44,055). However in private sector jobs, manufacturing in 2013 had 2,889 jobs, the most of any sector.
The date of the census data was March 12, 2013. Hostess Brands began operations since then, after being closed for five months and today have over 550 jobs.
According to FHTC Director of Business and Industry Training Center, Julie Cooper, future employees need more than a high school education. Technical skills are needed for individuals to be successful.
Brian Potter, Director of Operations at Simmons Pet Food indicated there is an increasing need for skilled work-ers. Fling Hills Technical College is an important relationship to communicate the current and future technical training with manufacturing companies and future employees.
Last March at the Select USA 2015 meeting in the D.C. metro area, Google Chair Eric Schmidt was interviewed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. It was an interesting conversation on a variety of manufacturing trends. Mr. Schmidt indicated for the last couple of decades manufacturing has been automating their operations. Soon China and other countries, which are labor intense manufacturing, will be automating manufacturing.
According to Eric Schmidt, “The highest growth is from the human who operates the computer that is automat-ing the manufacturing line. That’s the job you want.”
Secretary Pritzker followed up with the question, “And how do we train for the job?”
Schmidt replied “…Well it’s a big problem. As you know there is a big skills mismatch in America. Things are going so well key shortages for candidates for jobs. And they are typically pretty technical.”
“…But the basic message is our workforces need to be more technological savvy and more technical trained in order to coexist and operate these new devices. You know whether it’s building smart batteries, or building cars or doing software program. I think that is probably an Evergreen issue. I think it will be true this year it will probably be true next year and probably be true for many years. Because the demand is so great.”
If you are interested in viewing this video and others go to:
Eric Schmidt discusses in the same video women in technology or STEM occupations, the new trends in mo-bile applications and the importance of broadband today and in the future, and the relationship of research uni-versities and start up technology business.
There was another plenary session on Investing in Advanced Manufacturing – Perspectives from BMW and Michelin. The U.S. Presidents of these companies spoke on the importance of technical training, apprentice programs and mechatronics.
Emporia and Lyon County has a diversified economy. We have a rich heritage in agriculture with a mix of ag-ricultural production of corn, soy beans & wheat and cattle operations. We are a medical center for the Flint Hills region, an educational center with Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College, and a strong diversified manufacturing center.
Our manufacturing concentrations and strengths are in value-added agriculture with Tyson Meats, Hostess Brands, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Simmons Pet Food, Cargill Pet Nutrition, Fanestil Meats, Bunge, and H.J. Baker Bros. Other world-class manufacturers are Glendo, Detroit Diesel, VEKTEK, Hopkins Manufacturing, CAM-SO, Better Life Technology and Pratt Industrial. Those local companies which are important sectors to our economy are Birch Communications, Valu-Net, Red-Line Trucking, Norfolk Iron & Metal, Holman Distribu-tion and EVCO Wholesale Food Corporation.