The face of manufacturing may change, but it is not going away.
That is the message Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Megan Barfield had for the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning. It was also the point of joint Barton County/City of Great Bend proclamation approved by commissioners making Friday as Manufacturing Day.
Each year, Manufacturing Day is held on the first Friday in October in order to provide students, parents and the public with information on modern manufacturing. Events continue throughout the month, showing the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation to open their doors to students, parents, teachers and community leaders, Barfield said.
“We are excited to celebrate Manufacturing Day in Great Bend and Barton County for the third year,” Barfield said. “This is actually a national celebration that is celebrated on the first Friday of every October and we’ve kind of just taken it and ran with it.”
The whole idea is to invite communities to “celebrate their manufacturing as the backbone of this country,” she said. “And manufacturing is not going away, in fact it’s growing, and we are going to need more and more people to fill those jobs in the coming years.”
This is an effort to connect the jobs that are available and shine a light on those careers, she said. It also showcases what is being created locally and connects those firms with the workforce of the future.
This is a joint effort among the Chamber, Great Bend USD 428 and Barton Community College “to help bridge that gap,” Barfield said. They’ve got 10 participating manufacturers and thy are coordinating tours every Wednesday throughout October for students in the school district and at BCC.
Barfield said they want to expand this to include the other high schools within the county, if not this year, maybe next.”We want these kids to really see what’s happening.”
Taking part are Primus Sterilizers, Sunflower Diversified Services, Fuller Industries, T&C Manufacturing, Eldridge Fencing, Dry Lake Brewing, Superior Essex, South Bend Industrial Hemp, KMW Loaders and Doonan Specialized Trailer. She said this covers a broad range of manufacturers, from the more traditional to the not-so traditional, and the program doesn’t cost the participants anything to be involved.
“It is just to highlight what manufacturing in the modern day is and (it) shows those students what it looks like,” she said.
The chamber is coordinating video and photo shoots of each tour for the businesses to use in their promotional and recruiting efforts. The videos will also serve as virtual tours for students who cannot attend an in-person tour for such reasons as COVID-19.
Every student will also get a T-shirt
The celebration culminates during the Building Bridges Event on Nov. 3 at Great Bend High School.
“It’s to connect students and teachers and parents, and everybody, together to see all of the job opportunities and job shadows that are available,” Barfield said.
One manufacturer will receive an award based on student voting following the tours.
Sponsors are Kansas Manufacturing Solutions, Hutton Construction and Landmark National Bank. Other partners include Kansas Workforce one and Great Bend Economic Development Inc.
“Manufacturers seek to fill four million high-skill, high-tech and high-paying jobs over the next decade. MFG Day empowers manufacturers to address their collective challenges so they can lead their communities and future generations to a thriving economy,” the proclamation reads.
This year includes a “strong emphasis on engaging digital and virtual events throughout the country as manufacturing careers are at the heart of some of the most impactful work being done in response to the pandemic.”
It also encourages “our local municipal leaders (to) challenge our schools and businesses to inspire, educate and empower a new generation of creators in the United States today.”
Barton County Commission meeting at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Tuesday morning:
• Held a public hearing to receive comments on the Barton County Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, but none were presented. This plan is intended as a cooperative effort with area taxing districts to promote the revitalization and development of Barton County by stimulating new construction, rehabilitation, conservation or redevelopment within Barton County.
County Appraiser Wendy Prosser and County Counselor Patrick Hoffman made the presentation.
This was followed by the approval of a resolution effective Jan. 1, 2022. It will now be submitted to area taxing districts for review and approval.
It was also followed by the approval of an interlocal agreement joining Barton County to area taxing districts under the plan. Taxing districts include area cities, school districts, recreation commissions, townships, Barton Community College as well as fire, cemetery, hospital, extension, watershed and library districts.
Under the agreement, identified districts would be given the option to join.
• Marked 50 years of employment for Gary Demel in the Road and Bridge Department. He serves as shop foreman.
• Approved a proclamation marking next week as National 4-H Week.
4-H, as delivered by area Cooperative Extension agencies, has helped thousands of youth become confident, independent, resilient and compassionate leaders. By declaring Oct. 3-9 as National 4-H Week, the commission will encourage all citizens to recognize 4-H for the significant impact it makes by empowering youth with the skills they need to lead for a lifetime. Michelle Beran, Cottonwood Extension District – Barton County, was joined by area youth in presenting the proposed proclamation.
• Approved a joint proclamation with the City of Great Bend marking this Friday as Manufacturing (MFG) Day. Commissioners were joined by teleconference by Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Megan Barfield.
Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) is held on the first Friday in October in order to provide students, parents and the public with information on modern manufacturing. This year, there is a strong emphasis on engaging digital and virtual events throughout the country as manufacturing careers are at the heart of some of the most impactful work being done in response to the pandemic.
• Reviewed and approved applications for the next round of Barton County Facade Improvement Grants. They were approved for: Boots Wine Bar, coming to 2022 Forest; Hammond Inc. for properties at 1205 and 1213 Main; JJJM Investments at 1318 Kansas, Mizumi Sushi & Steak; Kirmer Electric, 214 Main in Claflin; and Musgrove Petroleum, 212 Main in Claflin.
• Approved premium pay for county employees.
In light of economic uncertainty for and increased risk to Barton County staff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the commissioners discussed ways to fairly compensate affected employees.
This retroactive premium pay schedule, heavily weighted toward lower income workers, includes non-elected, KPERS covered positions for persons employed with Barton County as of Jan. 1. The proposed schedule includes a monthly proration factor for employees hired later in the year. It is anticipated that premium pay would be provided in December, Human Resources/Finance Director Matt Patzner said.
The amounts distributed are based on full- or part-time status and the current salary. The amounts range from $520 to $2,080.
The total amount given will not exceed $320,000. The funds come from the U.S. Department of the Treasury American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
• Approved the purchase of a vibratory roller, a skid-steer loader attachment, for the Road and Bridge Department.
The department accepted proposals for one roller until Sept. 8. Minimum specifications included one padded vibratory quick attach roller that is compatible with a Bobcat T76 track loader 74HP. Bobcat of Salina submitted the only bid at $7,973.92.
Funds are available in the Road and Bridge Fund for this purchase, County Works Director Darren Williams said.