Manufacturing Day brings together 850 students at Dickinson

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The “Dream it. Do it.” program hosted its annual Manufacturing Day for high school students, where they were able to network with representatives from five of the area’s top companies – Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing (KMM), TMI, Baker Boy, Fisher Industries and Steffes – on manufacturing opportunities after graduation. Representatives from North Dakota State College of Science – Wahpeton, Dickinson State University, Bismarck State College and North Dakota State University also set up booths to interact with students.

“Dream it. Do it.” includes all of the manufacturing companies in southwestern North Dakota, including KMM, TMI, Steffes, Baker Boy, and Fisher Industries. Coordinator for “Dream it. Do it. ”And Fisher Industries director of marketing Eric Kittelson said he was happy to see such a“ fantastic ”turnout.

“So what we’re trying to do is promote careers in manufacturing to all high school students in southwestern North Dakota,” Kittelson said. “It was a great opportunity for them to take an interest in these careers and hopefully try to keep them and let them know that there are great careers and jobs in Southwest Dakota. North.”

Shared Resources Manager Tim Hansen, left, and HR recruiter Tiffany Benner of Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing smile during manufacturing day on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at the Biesiot Activity Center. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

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KMM HR recruiter Tiffany Benner and Shared Resources Manager Tim Hansen spoke to students about the importance of manufacturing.

“In terms of manufacturing, it’s a huge part of all jobs here in North Dakota, so it’s a big deal. And that’s good because we all have kind of the same jobs but different aspects, ”said Benner. “So with regard to KMM in particular, we are looking at process engineers, the supply chain and even production operators in general, because we only (are) manufacturing wires and printed circuit boards and things like that. But manufacturing is huge and I think it’s important for kids to understand all the different careers in manufacturing that are out there, and these aren’t the normal jobs that (there were) before. ”

Over the summers, KMM has incorporated an internship program that has grown steadily from year to year, Hansen said. Last summer alone, the manufacturing company had 12 interns between its facilities in Dickinson and Killdeer. Being able to go out for Manufacturing Day is one way to show young students what there is to offer here locally, he added.

“… It’s a fantastic opportunity for students to come out and see that not only can they just get a job or get their foot in the door … it’s not always about getting a degree” , said Hansen. “Sometimes you might come out of high school and not really have a plan. (They are) able to come and work for a lot of very good companies that don’t require all of that training. Maybe in the end, they’ll realize, “Hey, I want to go to school and I want to be an engineer, or I want to work in HR” or whatever, there’s a lot of good companies here in Southwest North Dakota who are willing to hire these people and get their foot in the door. So that’s great. ”

Despite closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, KMM is working to bring many of those laid-off employees back to the company, as it was the third-largest company in Stark County for the most employees, Hansen continued. Over the coming year, KMM will continue to bring new work to its Dickinson, Killdeer and Hettinger facilities as the space opens up.

“The other great achievement that we have going on is that even through all the struggles that we have had, we are moving now and almost to the point where we are ready to pull the trigger to open a fourth facility in Kerrville, Texas.” , said Hansen. “So we’re growing in terms of manufacturing, not just in southwestern North Dakota, but the opportunities that it offers there, enhances the opportunities that we get here, so that’s really good.”

Benner added: “Another thing is that as a recruiter we learn that a lot of people if they haven’t worked at KMM, they don’t know what we do at KMM. So we’re really trying to educate the community by educating the community about what KMM does, the opportunities and the growth it has within Dickinson and County Stark.

Fisher Industries director of human resources Shelly Hanson noted that the day was an opportunity for local manufacturers to educate young people about career opportunities after high school.

“At Fisher Industries, we’ve been in business for 69 years and we’re in construction. So we are sand and gravel. On General Steel and Supply, we do the manufacturing. We make different pieces of equipment – air separators, conveyor belts, stuff like that. So it’s a big industry that’s needed in this part of North Dakota, ”Hanson noted.

For Andy Bosset, Environmental Health and Safety Technician at Steffes, Manufacturing Day was the first youth and community awareness event he attended.

“So I myself am very new to the world of manufacturing. But from an internal perspective, it’s extremely important for Southwest North Dakota to supply and support product for the oilfield, which is a major driving industry here. But of course we serve other things besides that. (Manufacturing) just a type of work with a major impact for this field.

“It’s great talking to these guys because… a lot of the kids we spoke to today don’t necessarily have a clue what they want to do when they graduate from high school. But a lot of them have some sort of background that would allow them to easily fit into the manufacturing world, like some experience in welding or mechanics or something, ”Bosset said. “So it’s really nice to show them that there are such opportunities. ”

In August, Steffes announced its decision to expand into the Southeast with the acquisition of a manufacturing facility in Shelby, North Carolina. impact with the type of work performed by the company.

“So Steffes, as a company, has been extremely resilient throughout the pandemic and the pitfalls we’ve encountered with oil… She has shown her innovation by pursuing new avenues of manufacturing, (which) has been critically important to help support the business as a whole, ”added Bosset.

Marketing Director Eric Kittelson of Fisher Industries.  (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

Marketing Director Eric Kittelson of Fisher Industries. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

Manufacturing isn’t just about “dirty jobs,” Kittelson said, adding that there are job opportunities in human resources, sales, marketing and engineering.

“So like any other workforce, ‘Help Wanted’ is a definite need, especially in Southwestern North Dakota and the manufacturing sector is just one of those areas that are also in need of help. these employees. We’re just trying to promote that you don’t have to go very far to get a high paying job, start a career and start a lifestyle, ”Kittelson said. “There are a lot of good opportunities here in southwestern North Dakota, and that’s about what we do. ”

Kittelson added, “It’s just a big event for our community… because when I was in high school, we didn’t have these opportunities to go out and do this stuff and see all the different sectors and things. . So (this is important) to keep in mind that manufacturing is a huge workforce and there are jobs needed and within our companies there are a lot of managerial positions that go retire. Some of our professionals who are in the workforce right now will fill those gaps, but there will be a lot of entry level positions coming here in the near future and we will need these younger students to get them. interest in joining this workforce.


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