2017 Factory Tours2018-05-21T15:02:47-04:00

Made In SWVA Manufacturing Tours

#MadeinSWVA Manufacturing Tours

The Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing, Inc. and SVAM Center of Excellence want to connect K-12 to industry in a hands-on, in-person way. In partnership with area community colleges, SVAM and SVAM-CoE are coordinating a series of tours of the diverse manufacturing industry throughout southwest Virginia.

The goal of the tours is to inform career coaches, educators, students, and parents about manufacturing careers and opportunities in southwest Virginia, and help those in education make connections between classroom learning and possible careers.


  • When career coaches and teachers have this information, they are able to share it with students and their parents, along with educating them about the technical training the students need for the field.
  • The tours also help teachers explain to students why they need math and science, and what they translate to in future careers.
  • Manufacturers are constantly on the lookout for good employees and partners. It’s vital that we have a qualified workforce prepared to step into this growing industry that serves as the backbone of our local and national economy.
  • Career Coaches can gain some insight about the direction students could go.
  • The tour is also an opportunity to see what’s in our own backyard.
  • Teachers who have toured manufacturing facilities have stated they will be able to implement in their classrooms some of the ideas they learned about during the tours.
  • To better prepare students for work careers.
  • To educate parents about the secure, good-paying careers available in the region.
  • By seeing the career field first-hand, one can see what students might be doing after graduation. At the very least, tour participants gain a more realistic view of what manufacturing actually is versus outdated perceptions:
  • Modern manufacturing is smart, safe and sustainable;
  • Manufacturing is an improving industry sector;
  • Manufacturing jobs pay better;
  • Both women and men have satisfying manufacturing careers; and
  • Good careers in manufacturing do not require a college degree
  • From biotech to green chemistry, custom-made products to 3-D printing, today’s manufacturing is a far cry from the smokestacks and assembly lines you probably imagine.

Manufacturing Myths vs. Facts

    • Myth #1: There are no jobs in manufacturing today. American manufacturing died years ago.
    • Fact #1: American manufacturing has come back strong, and in many areas, there’s a severe shortage of skilled, talented employees.
    • Myth #2: Working in manufacturing is a greasy, grimy job.
    • Fact #2: Much of today’s manufacturing happens in pristine facilities, using state-of-the-art technology and equipment.
    • Myth #3: Manufacturing is only for people who are good with their hands.
    • Fact #3: Think about the smartphone you’re holding. Not only did someone have to build it, someone had to design it. Someone had to program it. Someone had to market it, package it, and coordinate the logistics for distributing it. Today’s manufacturing requires highly trained, talented employees, and the career paths in manufacturing include a huge range of possibilities.
    • Myth #4: There’s no money in manufacturing.
    • Fact #4: No money? No way! The average manufacturing employee earned $77, 506 in pay and benefits in 2013. That’s almost $15,000, or 17%, more than employees averaged in all industries. Further, manufacturing jobs are more likely to come with benefits, including medical and retirement benefits, than service-sector jobs. They are also more likely to require on-the-job training than jobs in other segments of the economy.
    • Myth #5: Students have to go to college right after high school and then get jobs.
    • Fact #5: Manufacturers have realized that in order to attract the best and brightest, they need to offer opportunities to grow which include sending employees to college.
    • Myth #6: Manufacturing jobs have a similar low-skilled profile, with limited opportunities.
    • Fact #6: “The reality is that today’s manufacturing workers are as likely to operate robots as they are wrenches, and use math more than muscle—this isn’t your grandpa’s factory floor,” Sen. Klobuchar said in her email.

A report released in February from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, citing 84 percent of manufacturing executives, said there is a significant talent shortage in the sector. Between now and 2022, the manufacturing sector will need to fill 2.2 million openings for production workers. Half a million of those openings will be for engineers, and an untold number of job openings will be for new, emerging occupations.