Sen. Merkley attends Oregon City Manufacturing Day event

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley paid a visit to Clackamas Community College’s Industrial Technology Center on Oct. 4 as part of daylong activities designed to increase student awareness about potential career pathways within the manufacturing industry.

“The whole field of renewable energy is just going to keep growing,” Merkley told a group of students from Oregon City High School.

With the increased amount of carbon in the air in recent decades caused by climate change, Merkley told the students, “We have to rebuild the whole energy economy of the nation.”

Always celebrated on the first Friday in October, Manufacturing Day is a national holiday designed to expand knowledge of manufacturing’s value in the U.S. economy and help foster interest in high-school-age students for manufacturing careers.

Modern manufacturing environments are commonly thought of as dark, dangerous factories designed for low-skilled workers. Manufacturing Day addresses this misperception by providing an opportunity for manufacturers to open their doors and showcase what modern manufacturing really is.

Speaking at CCC’s 40,000-square-foot Industrial Technology Center, which houses the college’s Manufacturing and Industrial Science programs, CCC student Steven Zimmerman told the students that he was an Air Force veteran and construction employee who found manufacturing well-suited to him.

“If you like working with your hands and outdoors, I highly suggest renewable energy,” he said.

Clackamas Workforce Partnership partnered with Clackamas Education Service District, Clackamas Community College, 13 area manufacturers and 10 local high school and/or youth programs, which included almost 250 students, to celebrate Manufacturing Day in Clackamas County. An additional 200 students and a slate of manufacturers participated in a separate event supported by Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences in Oregon City.

Tours of local manufacturing facilities aimed to educate students on a variety of skills necessary to work in manufacturing, informational interviews, access to industry leaders and training programs.