DCEDhosts Manufacturing Day


By Meladi Brewer


GREENVILLE — Darke County Economic Development (DCED) paired with local schools to commemorate National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6th.

Eight school districts and more than 650 sophomores in Darke County had a chance to tour and learn about the vibrant manufacturing sector and highlight the crucial role intellectual property plays in the industry. Intellectual property plays a heavy role in driving innovation and protecting creations.

Tamala Marley had a big hand in organizing the Manufacturing Day. Not only does DCED participate in a large Manufacturing Day, they also organize a Junior Job Shadow Day where students can get to know a specific job of interest.

“Tamala Marley is our current Workforce Specialist. She will be retiring in November, and Denise Elsas will be coming on with the team,” Mike Bowers, director of DCED said.

In addition to seeing the different demonstrations from the different manufacturing companies, they were also given opportunities in the business besides just working on the floor: IT, accounting, engineering, robotics, product design, logistics, distribution, etc.

“It just gives kids a great opportunity to get close to see what manufacturing is in Darke County,” Bowers said. “Even though we are highly agriculturally based, we do have a good mix of manufacturing.”

One of the manufacturing businesses students were able to explore was JAFE Decorating. JAFE allowed students to explore the world of candle glass manufacturing, graphic artistry, research and development, and even the paint kitchen.

“We got a little bit for everybody,” the tour guide said.

When most think about manufacturing, factories with assembly lines come to mind, and even though they are not wrong, there are many more moving parts that go into customer satisfaction. In the kitchen lab, they keep track of over 7,600 colors that were made from 15 dyes and 26 pigments within the plant. By creating their own color pallet and mixing it in house, it allows for flexibility and better productivity.

While in the paint kitchen, students were told about promoting within, as an employee gave her first-hand experience at JAFE. Having started “on the line”, she made her way up to more managerial roles. She said she planned on continuing to move stations, but found herself staying in the paint kitchen for the past couple of years because it is not boring.

“I like making paint,” she said. “I thought I’d get bored, but I’m not because I’m always learning, and colors are always changing.”

By the end of the tour, a couple students inquired about JAFE’s hiring requirements. They were instructed that they hire as young as 17 years of age, and have not had an issue hiring while someone is still in school.

“You are welcome to come out and take a more personalized tour any time and talk about the hiring process,” the tour guide said.

JAFE has worked with the local schools to allow students to participate in capstone programs, so they receive both school and work experiences in a day. All in all, DCED saw a successful day as the students of Darke County were opened up to a side of the workforce they may not have understood or knew was an option.

They learned how manufacturing has improved quality of life, enabled the growth of society, and hope it drives innovation through the efficient mass production of materials. Bowers would like to thank all the companies who helped enlighten the students and those who helped organize the event.

To learn more about Darke County Economic Development, visit www.darkecounty.com.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

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