Since 2012, the 1st Friday in October has been designated at Manufacturing Day in the U.S. with the goal of making this sector more accessible to students, parents, educators, and other community members.  This day kicks off a month of events across the country that celebrate Manufacturing’s impact on the economy and includes activities at over 14,000 manufacturers.

Manufacturing is one of the target industry segments for Avenue Scholars, so we spoke to one of our partners, Rebellion Fabrication, as well as an Avenue Scholars graduate about what it’s like to work in this sector.

Ross Gredys – Owner Rebellion Fabrication

What do you find most rewarding about manufacturing and owning your own business?

Ross loves problem solving and feels like that’s what he does on a daily basis.  He started the company to fill a gap and to solve problems and he is accomplishing both things. 

What led you to pursue this career?

He went to school to be a welder but there are so many different types of jobs you can do with welding.  He got interested in fabrication and it went forward from there.

How does your company benefit from partnering with Avenue Scholars?

There is a gap between what they teach you at trade school and real-world applications which leads to a steep learning curve when you get out of school.  Even before working with Avenue Scholars, he used to go into the schools and talk to kids about the job possibilities.  When he heard about the Avenue Scholars program, he was all in because it allows students to get their feet wet and get some real-world experience before it is full time.

33% more people are retiring from welding than going into it so there are going to be shortages in the next years.  Kids need to be introduced to the profession when they are hungry and want to learn…it helps build the right culture.  The average age of his employees is mid to late 20’s.  

Avenue Scholars helps find students who are interested and want to do the work.

What advice do you have for other businesses in the community that might be interested in working with Avenue Scholars?

“Get involved now – this is the future workforce.”  

What excites you about the next 5-10 years in the manufacturing industry?

“COVID showed us that the supply chain is too dependent on manufacturing outside the U.S.  They are working hard to bring it back to the U.S. so that is exciting.  Also, it’s all about Robotics and Technology now and it’s going in an exciting direction.  People tend to think that the robots are going to take over the manufacturing but that isn’t the case…people will still be needed to run the technology.”

Do you have any advice for students interested in pursuing a career in Manufacturing?

“Look at the industry holistically – there are so many types of things to do in manufacturing.  It isn’t all working on the manufacturing floor…there is technology, 3D modeling, prototyping, running computers, running robotics, sales…the list goes on and on.”

Pierce Nyenhuis – Fabricator/Welder at Rebellion Fabrication

What does a typical day look like for you? 

He sets up his fixture tables, blueprints, tools and then he welds.

How/why did you decide to pursue an internship?

He didn’t know what he wanted to do after high school, so he tried a few things and really liked this – being able to do an internship helped make his decision.

How did you find/land your current internship role?  

He went through the internship application with Avenue Scholars and got the internships and then it turned into a full-time job.

How do you think this experience has positively impacted your future plans/career path?  

It helped to send him in a good direction and the job teaches him to become a better fabricator

In what ways has Avenue Scholars provided support during your internship? 

“Avenue Scholars still offers a lot of support – resources for information and lets him know about other opportunities.”

What would you say to other students considering pursuing an internship?

“Definitely do.  It allows you to explore different jobs.  You may end up with a full-time job.” 

Where to hear more from Rebellion Fabrication:

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