By Ryan Mapes, Endeavor Center Manager and Business Development Network Program Leader
To showcase October’s National Manufacturing Month, local high school seniors along with staff members from the OSU South Centers Business Development Network, recently, toured the Speyside Bourbon Cooperage, Inc. manufacturing facility in Jackson, Ohio.
Speyside produces barrels for bourbon distilleries across the United States. While the company has been in business since 1947, they began production at the Jackson facility in 2016. Much of the raw materials used to produce the barrels are processed within a 30-mile radius of Jackson. The tour highlighted the process of converting the raw wood materials into barrels through CNC machining and modern manufacturing.
National Manufacturing Month helps highlight the value of manufacturing to the economy and the opportunity available for highly-skilled workers and careers.
Eastern High School seniors from Pike County participated in the tour to highlight local careers available in the manufacturing industry after graduation. “Not only did these students get to tour a manufacturing facility in the region, they also learned career opportunities in manufacturing as well as some required skills needed to enter the workforce,” Mick Whitt, Manufacturing Specialist with the OSU South Centers stated during the tour.
This tour also kicked off a new collaboration for the Southeastern Ohio Region. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) serving 22 southern and southeastern counties will be housed at the OSU South Centers in conjunction with the Ohio State University’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence within the College of Engineering. The MEP program will focus on providing value-added manufacturing consulting services to manufacturers throughout the region. Some services include market development, new product innovation, supply chain development, and strategic growth planning.
Additional tours introducing high school students to manufacturers in the Southeastern Ohio Region are being planned throughout the coming year.