The New Face of Manufacturing: How a Community is Attracting a Skilled Workforce

127 ArtworkWhen Jordan Twardy first stepped foot inside 3M’s Hutchinson manufacturing facility, he had no idea what to expect. “Seeing all the robots and the way things get made, it was so cool,” he says. The 19-year-old always had a knack for fixing things and getting his hands dirty, though these days manufacturing work is much cleaner than you might think. He knows that robots are capable of a lot, but he stresses that, first, they need people like him to tell them what we want them to do and to troubleshoot problems. That hands-on work is what excites Jordan.

To inspire other students like Jordan, the city of Hutchinson, Minnesota, is working on a $1.2 million project to educate students about manufacturing – a first of its kind effort in the state.

A native of Hutchinson, Jordan grew up with several manufacturing plants right in his own backyard. “My dad works for a company that makes the boxes for 3M, so I’ve known about them since I was a kid,” he explains. In a few short months, he’ll begin studying automation and robotics systems technology at Ridgewater College in his hometown.