Michigan Works! Coordinates 8 Manufacturing Day Talent Tours


10/7/22 – GRAYLING HIGH TOURS ALRO STEEL - Alro Steel in Grayling welcomed twelve Grayling High School students and two instructors for a Talent Tour on October 7, 2022 in recognition of Manufacturing Day.


General Manager Jason Campbell has participated in several student tours over the years and enjoys showing off his plant and speaking on behalf of the opportunities for career longevity at Alro.


The tour kicked off with a video showing the history of Alro Steel and what their Grayling plant manufactures. Students learned about the company’s high standards for customer service and the daily shipping in and out of materials. Jason used examples of the many employees who started in entry level positions and moved up to higher careers. He emphasized the very generous benefits the company offers, their retirement plan and tuition reimbursement.


The students learned about aluminum the company manufactures for docking and other structures, and the meticulous way materials are stored in their warehouse.

The students were interested in knowing what is considered an entry level job, and what skills they need starting off. They also were asking questions pertaining to weight limits for the overhead cranes and trucks, and what it takes to become a truck driver for the company.



10/7/22 – GRAYLING HIGH TOURS LEAR CORP - Lear Corp. in Roscommon welcomed twelve Grayling High School students and two instructors for a Talent Tour on October 7, 2022 in recognition of Manufacturing Day.


This was the first time Grayling students toured the plant and they were met with a staff that was very eager to show them around. Plant Manager Darin Bitner was the tour host and spoke about Lear Corp. being a leading manufacturer of seating and related components for automobiles.


He emphasized manufacturing leads to very high paying jobs, and careers that can take a person as high as they want to go with initiative and drive. He led the students through areas that are operated by women, including some jobs that include equipment operators.

One area that was very interesting to tour guests was the robotic welding stations, were operators are running the robots that do the actual welding.


The students learned that some of the skill sets the company is looking for is similar to those of gaming. Students and instructors asked several questions about career paths, and what skills are needed for a starting position at Lear. They also asked about longevity and what is the average number of years employees stay. They were impressed to hear of two 50+ year employees!


At the close of the tour, Lear gave each student a swag bag filled with items that included an aluminum water bottle, frisbee, sunglasses, hat and a key chain. It was a great tour, full of information about Lear and the many opportunities at the 17,000 square foot plant.



10/7/22 – GRAYLING HIGH TOURS AJD FOREST PRODUCTS - Twelve Grayling High School students and two instructors attended a Talent Tour at AJD Forest Products on October 7, 2022 in recognition of Manufacturing Day. AJD saws hardwood industrial lumber at their mill. They produce red oak, hard and soft maple, aspen, ash, and basswood. They produce thick lumber and they also re-manufacture industrial products for the pallet and box industry.

General Manager Tim Neff led the students around the mill to show the many areas of manufacturing, from entry level to top level positions within the company. He also talked about how many of the jobs are currently held by women, including the file room where it is 100% women run.


Tim spoke about several high paying careers at AJD Forest Products, particularly in logistics and operations and he said, “There’s great potential to come in with no experience, and work your way up to higher wages, advanced skills and job titles.”


During their tour at the sawmill, students were exposed to many of the high skilled, high paying jobs like expert filers who work in the filing room and maintain the band saw blades. The saws used at AJD are very large and they need maintenance for safe operation. Repair of damaged saws requires a degree of skill.


From the filing room, the students learned about Lumber Grading by watching an experienced Certified Lumber Grader examine and sort lumber according to designated standards, and examine lumber as it passes on a conveyor belt for such defects as splits, knots, faulty edges, stains, and unsatisfactory machine work.


The students enjoyed their tour at AJD Forest Products and talking with members of the staff. As the tour wrapped up in the lumber processing area, student had the opportunity to see how machines logistics control all the movement of logs through the plant. The highlight of the day was being able to climb on one of the company’s heavy equipment vehicles.



10/7/22 – ALPENA & HILLMAN STUDENTS TOUR OSSINEKE INDUSTRIES - 30 students from Alpena, Atlanta, and Hillman High School CTE programs toured Ossineke Industries’ manufacturing plant. The tour began with a powerpoint on the history and goals of the company and a safety presentation, followed by the physical tour of the plant. Students were able to handle raw and unfinished materials, see the machines in action, and ask questions about the procedures in real time. Students received an in-depth look at the various machinery, including CNC grinders, precision metal cutting tools, and other machining tools.

Staff explained that no formal education is required to get a job at Ossineke Industries and that they offer in-house training. They will even train those who haven’t completed high school.


Michigan Works! staff and Alpena Community College presented services and programs to the students, including the online Pathfinder tool.


Though the tour was hard to hear at times, student feedback was very positive. Students were surprised to learn how much automation is used, as well as how much work goes into manufacturing simple parts like small drill bits. Several students walked away very excited about this manufacturing occupation industry, and Ossineke Industries looks forward to more Talent tours in the future.



10/7/22 – VANDERBILT STUDENTS TOUR H & H TUBE - Five students from Vanderbilt toured H & H Tube for Manufacturing Day. H & H Tube provided an overview of the company via a brief presentation and students were able handle some of the produced product that the company makes. Throughout the tour, staff provided information on what education was required for a variety of their positions. Students were also given a hands-on opportunity during which they took parts (ring that was produced by H&H Tube and plastic tubing) and crimped them using the tube crimper.


At the end of the tour Michigan Works! staff provided information on Career Pathfinder, going over the features and benefits of utilizing the online career pathways tool.



10/7/22 – WOLVERINE STUDENTS TOUR NAI – Seventeen Wolverine High students toured the NAI facility in Gaylord in honor of Manufacturing Day.


Throughout the facility tour, students were provided with examples of what each area does on a day-to-day basis, as well as real life examples of how each department may work together or individually to fill an order.


Multiple processes were demonstrated, including crimping, how wires are prepared per customer's request via blueprints, and how the injection molding process is utilized. Additionally, NAI discussed their future plans of expansion due to specific customer orders.

As NAI discussed the different positions they also explained what educational requirements were needed, ranging from entry level (high school diploma) to engineer (master’s degree). They also discussed how the CEO of NAI Gaylord went to Gaylord High School and returned to Gaylord to help start and grow NAI's operations in Northern Michigan.


Student feedback was positive, with many stating they were quite surprised how quiet a manufacturing plant could be. Students were excited to hear that only a high school education was required to get your foot in the door and also very impressed at the starting wages for entry level positions. At the end of the tour Michigan Works! staff provided information on Career Pathfinder, going over the features and benefits of utilizing the online career pathways tool.



10/14/22 – ATLANTA STUDENTS TOUR H.B. CARBIDE – Seventeen Atlanta High students toured the H.B. Carbide facility in Lewiston in honor of Manufacturing Day.


During the tour, the plant manager Jon Dreher provided information regarding how he came to work at H.B. Carbide, what his educational background is, and what types of opportunities working for H.B. Carbide has provided. Additionally, Jon discussed how at the company there is room for career growth, as well as providing a first-time experience for those coming into the workforce or looking to make a career change.


Throughout the tour, there were Q & A regarding various departments, job duties, and expectations. The students were able to observe the maiden run of a new automated machine which would help cut down the production time to produce a variety of products. H.B. Carbide staff provided insight as to how manufacturing has changed and continuously moves towards automation/technology, such as using a 3D printer in part of their production process. Students were able to handle product which was both in production and completed, and they were provided hand-outs about the company, the culture, and the products they manufacture. Students were surprised at how broad manufacturing is and how it touches so many aspects of their lives.


At the end of the tour Michigan Works! staff provided information on Career Pathfinder, going over the features and benefits of utilizing the online career pathways tool.



10/19/22 – VANDERBILT STUDENTS TOUR EAGLE 101.5 – Five Vanderbilt High students toured Eagle 101.5 to gain insight into the local broadcasting industry.


Station Manager Rob Weaver, discussed how he was introduced into the industry, his educational background, some of his daily tasks, and how the industry is evolving with new technology. The Vanderbilt students had several questions for Rob about the industry and the day-to-day tasks. Rob also provided the students with an opportunity to record an introduction. He gave examples of his own work and recorded a small portion of his segment while they were in the studio. Additionally, Rob demonstrated how the broadcasting industry has many career opportunities and options about where to work and live. An example of that included mentioning the Eagle 101.5 staff members who are not living locally - one lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and one lives in Morocco, North Africa!