Throughout the month of October, Arizona MEP, in collaboration with manufacturers, the Arizona Department of Education and Arizona State University, facilitated a series of impactful events to promote the manufacturing industry in celebration of Manufacturing Month. The primary objective was to expose students to the exciting world of manufacturing, aiming to spark their interest in pursuing careers in this dynamic industry.


"We believe in fostering the next generation of manufacturers by providing students with firsthand experiences in real-world manufacturing environments," said David Garafano, Executive Director of Arizona MEP.


The Principal of Laveen District Middle School in Phoenix, Arizona, shared the positive impact of the West Pharmaceutical and Precision Aero Tours, stating, "Our students were very impressed with their tours. It was a very positive experience. Our students who went to Precision Aero were able to see how the 3D CAD experience they are receiving in their automotive class applies to real-world applications. The students who went to West Pharmaceuticals got to hear the path employees took to reach their positions. It was a great experience, and we look forward to it again in the future."


Other highlights included the Northwest Valley Tour, which saw 25 CTE students from West-Mec exploring Latham Industries, Nautilus Systems and Air20. Following the tours, ASU West Career Services facilitated an activity to assist students in applying for open positions and internships.


Tracey Latham, CEO of Latham Industries, said that the goal was to broaden the student’s perspective on manufacturing beyond the misconception of dirty factories and assembly lines. “Manufacturing, from the design phase to the final product, is filled with excitement and fun,” said Latham. “Each step demands diverse skill sets, ranging from design and engineering to programming, ultimately culminating in the creation of a high-quality finished product. I wanted the students to recognize the varied opportunities within our industry, presenting a more comprehensive view.”


Latham concluded, “Establishing training programs is pivotal to supporting every facet of our industry, from machine operation to the delicate art of soldering. As we had the students’ soldering parts onto a PCB, crafting a small flashlight, it was gratifying to watch their learning

process. Our team thoroughly enjoyed working with them, providing hands-on experience that goes beyond textbooks and lectures.”


Virtual Manufacturing Meetups with Education Empowers brought together 12 schools and clubs with professionals from leading companies like Intel Corporation, Avnet, Lucid, NXP, Microsoft, Amazon, American Airlines, Nike, Footprint, Medtronic, Collins Aerospace, and Honeywell. These virtual interactions allowed students to gain insights into diverse STEM careers.


At the AZ SciTech STEM EXPO, the Arizona Department of Education Career and Technical Education engaged middle and high school students in discussions about lucrative entry-level manufacturing jobs. The City of Tucson and Pima County also collaborated to host a Manufacturing Day event, featuring tours, a luncheon, and employer presentations to students from the Flowing Wells School District.


Arizona MEP is thrilled with the success of Manufacturing Month 2023 and looks forward to expanding the event in 2024. The organization remains committed to providing more student tours and further enriching experiences to inspire the next generation of manufacturing professionals. For more information, visit to learn about the MEP program.