Opportunities in Manufacturing Presentations



During the month of January, SVAM presented to over 660 students at career and technology schools throughout Southwest Virginia. The schools included: Buchanan Co. Career and Tech School, Grayson Co. Career and Tech Center, Russell Co. Career and Tech School, Scott Co. Career and Tech School, Smyth Co. Career and Tech School, Tazewell Co. Career and Tech School, Washington Co. Neff Center, and Wythe Co. Technology Center, with more presentations expected to occur. The purpose of doing these presentations was to help students to understand career opportunities available to them in manufacturing. This presentation was titled Opportunities in Manufacturing. It included little known manufacturing facts, information about careers in manufacturing, pathways into manufacturing fields, and the SVAM Manufacturing Scholarship.

The presentation began with a short video touching on a few of the facts that were to be discussed throughout the presentation. It then moved into a discussion regarding the importance of manufacturing. In order to engage the students, they were asked to name something they would not have without modern manufacturing. Most students were surprised to learn that manufacturing impacts their lives in a number of ways on a daily basis. After the importance of manufacturing was established, the presentation transitioned to the topic of manufacturers in Southwest Virginia. Students were asked how many manufacturers were located in Southwest Virginia; most answers were less than fifty, so students were shocked to learn that there are nearly 400. In order to let the students get a good idea of the different manufacturers in the region, the presentation featured SVAM’s #MadeinSWVA video which showcases multiple Southwest Virginia manufacturers and their products. After students were made aware of the many places they could someday work, the presentation discussed why manufacturing should be considered a desirable field to enter. The first reason being that nearly 80% of manufacturing workers are aged 45-65, which means there will be many jobs available to them in the near future. Students were surprised to learn that manufacturing workers make almost $10,000 more than the average annual salary of somebody living in Southwest Virginia.

After explaining why students should consider going into a manufacturing related field, the presentation discussed the different career pathways they could take. In order to for this presentation to be useful to all students, it used examples of careers that required technical certifications as well as careers that required four-year degrees. This part of the presentation focused on the cost of furthering their education and the amount of time it would take to get certified and/or earn a degree.

There was a focus on different resources available to students to assist with paying for school; this included the SVAM scholarship. The scholarship is only available to students pursuing manufacturing related fields. There were many students who didn’t realize that they could qualify for the scholarship due to the career they planned on pursuing until the presentation focused on careers in manufacturing that most people don’t think about; this included business related careers, computer related careers, mathematics, and engineering careers. The majority of questions from students at every school were whether or not their career plans could somehow relate to manufacturing; most of the time, the answer was yes.
Many students expressed interest in applying for SVAM Manufacturing Scholarship and stated that most of the presentation was brand new information. Faculty and staff at multiple schools also expressed interest in working more closely with SVAM to further impact both students and teachers in regards to opportunities in manufacturing.