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UT Students, Faculty Celebrate Manufacturing Day with Area High Schoolers

More than 200 students and officials from Powell High School, Karns High School and Hardin Valley Academy celebrated Manufacturing Day on October 6 at an event where students and faculty from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, introduced them to advanced manufacturing techniques and technology.

The event was organized by MSC Industrial Supply Company and held at the Tennessee Manufacturing and Design Enterprise (TN-MADE) building off Pellissippi Parkway. TN-MADE is home to the Machine Tool Research Center, where students have access to the latest state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing machines, educating them to be the workforce of the future.

The goal for Manufacturing Day is to inspire a renewed interest in manufacturing in the U.S. and get the next generation interested in careers in the field.

“Manufacturing Day is symbolic of the change in U.S. thinking about manufacturing,” said Tony Schmitz, professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering. “Offshoring began in the 1960s and ’70s. The motivation was lowering cost through reduced labor rates in other countries. The U.S. now realizes that onshore manufacturing is critical to the economy and national defense. The first official Manufacturing Day was held in 2012, and President Obama signed the presidential proclamation in 2014. I’m so pleased to participate in this reawakening to the importance of manufacturing through partnership with companies like MSC Industrial Supply Company and the Manufacturing Day event hosted at TN-MADE.”

Vendors and institutes including UT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and IACMI–The Composites Institute, along with Knox County officials, were on hand to show off equipment and technology and to help demonstrate the importance of manufacturing to Tennessee’s economy.

“This day offers a good look at what the Tickle College of Engineering is doing in the manufacturing world, as well as some of the partners we have helping us with that research,” said Elijah Charles, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering from Oak Ridge, Tennessee. “It’s very important to develop the workforce of tomorrow for both our national security and financial security, so we need to make sure it doesn’t suffer, which is why we are trying to get these students interested in it.”

UT students gave the high schoolers a firsthand look at some of the machines in action, helping further drive interest. Some of the demonstrations included CNC machines, additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing, hybrid manufacturing and metrology.

“Here at MSC, manufacturing is in our DNA,” said MSC Senior Innovation R&D Engineer of Metalworking Innovation Michael Gomez, who earned his doctorate under Schmitz. “We’re excited to host Manufacturing Day this year in collaboration with UT Knoxville and our key partners. Our goal is to inspire, educate and empower the next generation of manufacturing leaders to carry our industry forward. This is a great opportunity to bring together the local community to showcase the dynamic world of modern manufacturing.”

Students were given passports to take around to the assorted booths to get stamped, with those who got every stamp entered into a raffle for prizes.


David Goddard (865-974-0765,