ArtiFlex Featured In Grand Rapids Business Journal

ArtiFlex was proud to be recognized as one of 4,000 manufacturers in the region during Manufacturing Week!

An excerpt of the article is provided below, along with the source link. ArtiFlex’s own, Jocelyn Hodack highlights the value of hands-on tours like the ones ArtiFlex participated in for upcoming generations.

“Students see advanced manufacturing firsthand” – Rachel Watson

Nearly 1,000 students toured manufacturers in person. ArtiFlex Manufacturing again was one of the host sites this year.

Jocelyn Hodack, who works in human resources training and development at ArtiFlex, took groups of students from Forest Hills Northern High School and Innovation Central High School on tours at one of the company’s tooling plants, at 2066 Bristol Ave. NW in Walker.

She said during the one-hour tour, students got to see every step of the process — design/engineering simulations, machining, setting up/programming of the dies, assembly, testing and quality control.

Hodack said students asked great questions and seemed to be engaged, and some asked about summer job and apprenticeship opportunities. She said Discover Manufacturing Week isn’t primarily about seeing immediate talent attraction results but about changing perceptions to ensure the industry has a future.

On top of that, she said, employees get as much out of the experience as they give.

“It actually does something for us internally. It’s rewarding to be able to talk about your passion and what you do at your company and what your contributions are, and to be able to share that with somebody else and leave a positive impression,” Hodack said. “Our employees are excited when students come to tour.”

Jay Dunwell, president of Wolverine Coil Spring, said he has not lost his enthusiasm for giving these tours to students, even though he has been doing it for years.

For Discover Manufacturing Week, his company hosted a group of students from Northview Next Career Center, providing them hands-on opportunities to learn about coils and springs and all the various applications they have in everyday consumer products, such as in vehicle door handles and dishwashers.

“We try and give them a good flavor of the diversity of career opportunities that manufacturing offers,” he said.

The tour took students from the front office to assembly to production and concluded with an activity in the break room where students got to create mock torsion, compression and extension springs by winding pipe cleaners around wooden dowels. They also got to churn out real metal springs by taking CNC equipment through a coding sequence.

Dunwell said manufacturing had a tight labor market before COVID-19 and now it’s tighter, making him even more passionate about touting the importance of manufacturing in West Michigan.

“We think these career opportunities are a lot like rock climbing,” he said, noting people start in one role in the company and then they move up, and many of Wolverine’s employees have worked there for years and now their children also work there.

“It’s a healthy sign that the parents are promoting these career opportunities to their next generation,” he said.

Dunwell and Hodack both said their companies offer year-round opportunities for young people to tour their facilities and learn more about manufacturing careers.

“It’s a great way to expose students (to manufacturing) in a very hands-on learning environment, to help them have a better understanding in ways that they might not be able to appreciate inside a classroom,” Hodack said.

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