With tomorrow being National Manufacturing Day in the United States, three facilities in Morgan County will be offering tours to the public.
Those three businesses are ILMO Products and CCK Automations of Jacksonville, as well as Tarps Manufacturing in Meredosia.
This is the fourth year for the national event, but the first time such tours have been offered, according to Terry Denison of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation.
“It’s a way of highlighting and thanking our manufacturers. We’ve tried for a couple years in various forms to honor our manufacturers locally, but this year, we were able to ask three manufacturers in our local region, [who] have agreed to open their doors to let people see what manufacturing is actually like,” he says.
“When you driver by a building, you have absolutely no idea what goes on inside of it. By opening the doors, we can enlighten a lot of people.”
Denison says the JREDC has reached out to Jacksonville School District and the city’s three colleges in hopes they’ll take advantage of the Thursday tours.
“The days, pretty much, of graduating from high school and going to work in some of these plants is getting to be far and few between, and you need some kind of an advanced program. It doesn’t have to be a four-year college degree or even a two-year [degree], but a lot of times it requires, like, a certificate program or something,” says Denison.
“I know a lot of our manufacturers, they’re very willing to train somebody if they’ll show up and put forth the effort to try to help the company, and so it’s a partnership.”
Denison notes 13 percent of the local economy is made up of manufacturing, and there are about 23-hundred manufacturing jobs in the area.
CCK will be open from 9 to 11 a-m, while ILMO will offer tours from 10 a-m until noon. Tarps will offer tours from 9:30 to 11:30 a-m. You can hear representatives from each business talk about what’ll be shown during their tours by clicking on the media player below.