In celebration of Manufacturing Day 2021, the Wylie Economic Development Corporation (Wylie EDC), in cooperation with local businesses and community partners, completed a month-long series of activities and programs designed to connect local manufacturers with students, businesses and the community. Manufacturing Day is a national program with local implementation specifically targeted at raising awareness for the rapid, high-tech growth of the manufacturing sector and educating students about the tremendous opportunities that are and will continue to be available.
Beginning with Proclamations from both State and City governments proclaiming October 1, 2021 as Manufacturing Day, a full schedule of educational and awareness building programs were implemented throughout the month of October. Although the student groups were smaller than in years past, in order to comply with safety guidelines for COVID-19, this year's program featured an expansion of disciplines to include Compound Pharmacies as well as Graphic Design and production. To hedge their bets a bit, the Wylie ISD and Wylie EDC developed virtual tours which could be substituted for in-person tours at the last moment if needed. The virtual tours could also be used to enhance classroom instruction all year long in a variety of classes and disciplines.
The 2021 program involved 14 local manufacturers and spanned 11 key disciplines including engineering, robotics, HVAC, welding, compounding pharmaceuticals, culinary arts, business management, construction sciences, architecture, audio visual production and graphic design. Nearly 200 High School Seniors toured local manufacturers and experienced first-hand the real-world application of their skills and knowledge. City Officials, business leaders, educators and other community partners were all on-hand to celebrate our local manufacturers and help inspire students to explore the lucrative opportunities available to them. “Wylie has a unique mix of businesses, community leaders, and educators who recognize the tremendous advantage of having students skilled and workforce ready upon graduation," stated Jason Greiner, Executive Director of Wylie EDC. "Whether or not students opt to go on to College or other skilled training programs, Wylie leaders have come together to ensure they have marketable skills and career opportunities available to them right here in their hometown. We envision that the partnership between the WISD and local industry will provide an ever-expanding base of skills and, through close cooperation with our business leaders, we can provide tools and programs to ensure robust employment opportunities and businesses that remain highly competitive in their industries," he added.
An integral part of the Manufacturing Day program is the “Wylie Chamber of Commerce Manufacturers Workforce Luncheon”. During this year’s luncheon, held on October 27th and hosted by Collin College, Manufacturers learned about workforce development educational programs available to them and their employees. Karen Musa, Executive Dean at Collin College, described the wide variety of programs available to businesses through Collin College Technical Campus including automotive, HVAC, welding, engineering, construction sciences, biomedical, robotics, and much more. She encouraged employers to contact her to develop customized training programs, some of which can even be held on-site at the employer’s location.
Following the workforce program presentation, the 2021 Legacy Manufacturing Award was presented to Greg Lutz, President of Lutz Woodworks, LLC. This award is given to a deserving manufacturer who exemplifies entrepreneurship and leadership in the Wylie Business Community. The award debuted in 2019 as part of the Manufacturing Day program. In 2019, Savage Precision Fabrication opened its doors and hosted the first Annual Manufacturers Luncheon. Savage personnel conducted facility tours for luncheon guests, and workforce partners were on-hand to provide information about available educational programs designed to upskilled current workforce.. At this luncheon, JoAnn Gardner, President of Savage Precision Fabrication was honored as the first recipient of the annual Manufacturing Legacy Award. In 2020, amid the height of the COVID pandemic, Raymond Cooper was presented with the second annual Manufacturing Legacy Award in a virtual ceremony. Because the award was being presented virtually, a short video was produced recounting his numerous contributions to the business community and his on-going philanthropy on behalf of Wylie citizens. During the 2021 luncheon, the community honored Greg Lutz as the third recipient of the Legacy Manufacturing Award. As a longtime leader in the community, Greg Lutz has played an active role in student education, spearheaded a Thanksgiving luncheon designed to pay tribute to our First Responders, and has dedicated enormous time and energy to business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to ensure that Wylie has a strong and thriving business community. "He perfectly exemplifies the intent of this award," stated Greiner, "We are grateful to have a business leader of his caliber in our community".