by Jim Boyle
Excitement is building for Manufacturers Week, which has been proclaimed by the city of Elk River as Oct. 22–28.
Four Elk River manufacturing businesses are working with Elk River High School and the city of Elk River to offer tours of their facilities, in addition to public tours of two of the businesses, according to Clay Wilfahrt, assistant director of economic development for Elk River.
M and M Machine, J and J Machine, Alliance Machine and Metal Craft have agreed to open up to students. M and M Machine and Metal Craft have tentatively agreed to host public open houses from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23.
“Manufacturers contribute to the economy with $16.4 billion in wages throughout the state,” Wilfahrt told members of the Elk River Economic Development Authority.
Elk River is home to about 65 manufacturers, which employ 800 people.
Wilfahrt also touched on the recent decision to seek greater collaboration and partnership between government, education and manufacturers at a recent Sherburne County Manufacturers Connections event at Glenn Metalcraft in Princeton.
Manufacturers Week will be a chance to foster that. More meetings are planned between the groups.
One goal of the tours is to get students networking with professionals and learning about what occupations are out there when they’re young and can readily switch and decide what their career paths will be.
Bryan Provo, owner of Alliance Machine, said he’s glad the EDA is staying involved with this effort.
“(Manufacturers) get overlooked in a lot of communities,” he said. “Speaking as a manufacturer, we do need more up-and-coming talent. The well is running dry.
“It’s easier to persuade kids than someone who needs to change their career path, although that’s fine with me, too.”