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  • Writer's picturePaul Hogendoorn


Updated: Jun 6

Manufacturers build neat stuff. Like many others, as a kid, I played with Tonka trucks, then built go-carts, then started modifying bicycles. We did this stuff for fun. Somewhere along the way, we stopped doing these types of things and started studying and learning in more formal, structured ways instead – not to say studying is bad or learning in classrooms is bad, but somehow tactile, kinesthetic, hands-on “build-something, make-something” learning and experiences faded in importance in our lives.

But, not for everyone. For some, the desire to build something, to have the satisfaction of seeing it complete in a physical and useful form, and to apply and hone those skills to make more interesting, complex, or useful things, has resulted in productive and rewarding careers, and a satisfying way of spending the working portion (often the biggest portion) of our lives.

I know labor day is more broadly applied to effort across many sectors, but when I think of it, I think it’s a day to honor the people that build and make things; they not only make the things we need to lives our lives the way we want to live them, their industries and companies built and still sustains our middle class. Where would we be without them?

One day a year, we honor and celebrate the value and benefit and contribution of labor, and of manufacturing in particular. I'm encouraged that more high schools (and even some elementary schools) are starting to recognize the importance of developing our children's innate desire to build, make and construct. People in manufacturing get to make a lot of really cool stuff. Its an important part of who and what we are!

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