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Sign Manufacturing Education Day Takes Place October 2

33 companies, 42 shops participating

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In my September article about handcrafted signs, my introduction devoted considerable space to the need to educate future generations of workers about the importance of manufacturing – specifically, about the sign trade. After all, how many analytics specialists, mobile-app designers and coders do we really need? And, what does it say about a society that doesn’t make any of its own goods? Besides being at the mercy of what foreign suppliers decide to charge for a product, it reveals a culture whose denizens lack the initiative to be full masters of their national destiny.
Thankfully, many are realizing the importance of training the next generation of manufacturing-sector workers. In an effort to help the sign industry achieve this, the Intl. Sign Assn. (ISA) is partnering with the Natl. Assn. of Manufacturers (NAM) to conduct the 3rd Annual Sign Manufacturing Education Day. Last year, 17 shops operating at 21 locations invited high-school, vocational-school and junior-college students to tour a signshop in their area and learn more about career opportunities in the industry. This year, participation has increased to 31 sign companies that operate 39 shops across the U.S. and Canada.
“Inviting these students inside the facilities to hear the many types of jobs available in the sign and visual-communications industry will go a long way to solving workforce-development challenges in the coming years,” Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO, said. “Companies that participated said many students had questions about internships. I don’t think it will be long before we hear of the first hires as a result of this program.”
Ben Ziglin, owner of Washington, MO-based Ziglin Signs, served as one of last year’s hosts. As a vocational-school graduate who serves on the board of trustees at his local technical-education facility, he realizes the importance. He said, “Whether you’re learning in a metal shop, woodworking, drafting or many other disciplines, they’re applicable to the sign industry. People who come to work in our shop have a great opportunity to learn many varied skills, whether or not they decide to make the sign industry a lifelong career.”

Sobering articles about the lack of vocational education and its consequences for our economy abound. For example, an April 2 Huffington Post article reported on a manufacturing survey conducted by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte that stated as many of 2 million of the 3.4 million manufacturing jobs forecast to be created by 2025 could go unfilled because of lacking workforce skillsets. It’s only through measures such as NAM and ISA’s initiatives that we can offset such dire predictions. We should commend, and tangibly support, their efforts.

Here’s a complete list of shops that are participating in Sign Manufacturing Education Day:

Advantage Signs                                   Fort Saskatchewan, AB, Canada
Allen Industries                                     Greensboro, NC
Allen Industries                                     Clearwater, FL
Colortec Creative Print Solutions           Burnaby, BC, Canada
Cummings Resources                            Dothan, AL
Cummings Resources                            Colton, CA

Daktronics                                             Brookings, SD
DaNite Sign Company                            Columbus, OH
DuraColor (part of Federal Heath Sign
Company, LLC)                                       Racine, WI
Enseignes Plus                                      Châteauguay, QC, Canada
ESCO Manufacturing                              Watertown, SD
Federal Heath Sign Company, LLC          Jacksonville, TX
Federal Heath Sign Company, LLC          Euless, TX
Federal Heath Sign Company, LLC          Delaware, OH         
Federal Heath Sign Company, LLC          Oceanside, CA
Green Sign Company                              Greensburg, IN        
Hansen Signs                                         Moncton, NB, Canada
Holthaus Lackner Signs                          Cincinnati, OH
Mattatall Signs, Ltd.                                Dartmouth, NS, Canada
North American Signs                              South Bend, IN
Nova Polymers                                        Bryan, OH
Park Place Sign Systems, Inc.                 Hannibal, MO
Poyant Signs, Inc.                                   New Bedford, MA
Pride Signs                                              Cambridge, ON
Ramsay Signs                                         Portland, OR
Ruggles Sign                                          Versailles, KY
Sign-Age of Tampa Bay                          Clearwater, FL
Sign Designs                                          Joplin, MO
Signs by Crannie, Inc.                            Flint, MI
Signs Plus Inc.                                       Bellingham, WA
Signtech Electrical Advertising, Inc.       San Diego, CA
Sleek Advertising Ltd.                            Regina, SK, Canada
Steel Art Company                                 Norwood, MA
Tako Tyko Signs & Lighting                     Los Angeles, CA
Tube Art Group                                       Bellevue, WA
World Wide Sign Systems, Inc.               Bonduel, WI
World Wide Sign Systems, Inc.              Carson City, NV
World Wide Sign Systems, Inc.              Atlanta, GA
World Wide Sign Systems, Inc.              Shawano, WI

YESCO                                                   Salt Lake City, UT
Ziglin Signs, Inc.                                    Washington, MO

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