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‘Tour of Manufacturers’ is next month

Stop the presses! Forum Communications Printing plant will be on the Manufacturers Tour next month. Submitted Photo

In an effort to attract more workers, five area businesses are opening their doors April 12 and 13 during the Tour of Manufacturing and asking people to stop in for a visit.

It is free to everyone.

“We really want to promote that there are good jobs in the area in manufacturing,” G.L. Tucker said. “There are more jobs than people.”

Tucker serves as dean of Custom Training Services/Business & Entrepreneurial at M State and is one of the organizers for the Tour of Manufacturing.

The model of touring manufacturing companies has already been implemented in Fergus Falls and Alexandria. Detroit Lakes’ plan was to use that model and make it even better, Chamber Director Carrie Johnston said.

One way they are beefing up the model is by adding a second day of tours. While Saturday, April 13, is for the general public, on Friday, 300 students from area schools will be bused to the businesses for tours as well.

Tucker said they want to show students that there are good jobs not only available in the area but also in manufacturing.

The five businesses taking part in the tour are Bergen’s Greenhouse, BTD, Forum Communications Printing, Lakeshirts and TEAM Industries, Audubon.

Manufacturing has long held the stigma of being a dirty, line-working, laboring job, but there are so many more opportunities. There are also accounting, graphic design, marketing and other positions available in manufacturing.

Even after the downturn in the economy, manufacturing has started to see an upswing in production, and a need for employees.

“Manufacturing is seeing work come back to the United States,” Johnston said.

Plus, with the North Dakota oil boom being so close, workers are finding more opportunities out west.

Another bonus the Detroit Lakes Tour of Manufacturing will be offering is bus service from business to business. Johnston said she doesn’t want people to not come because they feel transportation is a hindrance. Instead, they can pick one business to begin at and be bused to the rest.

At each business, people will receive a fact sheet about the company and what types of jobs they have available.

And, Johnston said, while each business will have ongoing tours, nothing is scheduled necessarily so the public can stop in on Saturday anytime between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. that they wish and go to however many of the companies they wish.

She said the tours are open to people who are simply interested in a business as well, not just looking for a job.

During the Fergus Falls tour, there were 2,000 total visits to eight different manufacturing companies.

“It’s really been a partnership effort with everybody,” Tucker said. “Everyone has pitched in.”

That partnership has not only been with the five businesses, but also with the city of Detroit Lakes, Rural Minnesota CEP, Tri-State Association, West Central Initiative, Dream It Do It, M State (sharing the coursework needed for these jobs) and the Chamber to promote and support the businesses.

At the end of the tour, there will be a survey to fill out, asking for comments and suggestions to improve the event. Those who participate in the survey will have a chance to win an iPad.

With the success of the Tour of Manufacturing in Fergus Falls and Alexandria, the event will rotate between the three towns in the upcoming years, meaning it will be back in Detroit Lakes in three years.

Events like the Tour of Manufacturing give businesses the opportunity to not only showcase their business but also the Detroit Lakes area.

“If the area does well, we all do well,” Tucker said.

For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 87-47-9202.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.