Excel Foundry in Pekin hosted hundreds of students Wednesday as part of the 4th annual Discover Manufacturing Event. CEO Doug Parsons said he needs skilled machinists, welders and maintenance technicians.
"I think there's still the stigma that it's a smoke stack industry with dead end opportunities," Parsons said.
But Parsons said that's not true anymore. That manufacturing at his company means clean working conditions, a sophisticated job and chances to move up.
"We have a gentleman who is now my VP of manufacturing and doing a phenomenal job. He started here as a machinist," Parsons said.
Nolan Moore toured the facility with his class and it made the job look better than he thought.
"There's so much different, exciting things that I didn't know about manufacturing," Moore said.
Moore said he recently visited the Caterpillar Visitors Center, which also opened his eyes.
"We want to inspire people to operate, we want to inspire them to be on the machines. We want to inspire them to be technicians," said Visitors Center Manager, Kathryn Spitznagle.
"After going through all their big manufacturing buildings and all that it has, makes me want to go here," Moore said about his visit to the Visitors Center. He said seeing the finished CAT product made him excited about going into manufacturing. He said he's considering applying to Excel Foundry one day.
Parsons said he needs people like Moore who are willing to get the technical degree. He said the average age of a highly skilled manufacturer today is 60, so a lot of his work force will retire in the next few years.
You can apply for jobs on the Excel Foundry web page.