Students experience manufacturing first-hand

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Over 100 students headed out to a local manufacturing plant to learn what it's like to be a manufacturer.

Rockford Systems says the average salary for a manufacturing worker is over $70K a year and 90% of them have full medical benefits. Manufacturing day helps give students an idea of what a job in this field could be like.

Today is National Manufacturing Day, and Rockford Systems is showing students how manufacturing jobs are done.

An open house gave Jefferson, Gifford, and Boylan students a chance to hear and see first-hand how the company makes safety equipment. Workers also told them about the kind of training it takes to run their machines. Teachers say it is important to show students all of the options they have for life after graduation.

"We want to expose them. If they wanna go to college, we wanna give them every opportunity to go to college. And if college isn't for them, we wanna present every opportunity for them to be career-ready, which is kindof our focus: college and career ready. Whichever one fits the student," says Jefferson High School Manufacturing Teacher, Charles Kluzak.

Today's event also gave students a chance to network with manufacturing specialists. Rockford Systems leaders tell me that many of their jobs do not require higher education and are a good route for students who want to enter the work force right after high school.

Rockford Mayor Tom Mcnamara has also made today Rockford Systems Day along with Manufacturing Day.