GOSHEN — Local eighth-graders are getting a peek at what manufacturing looks like in Elkhart County this week and a glimpse of what future careers could await them.

Nearly 3,000 Elkhart County students are visiting manufacturers across the county as part of Manufacturing Day. The Horizon Education Alliance partnered with 77 manufacturers throughout the county to make this week possible.

Manufacturing Day is a nationwide celebration meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. The event started on Monday and will continue through Oct. 10.

A small group of Goshen Middle School eighth-graders got a tour of Lippert Components Plant 228 on Goshen’s south side late Wednesday morning.

Students were able to see how the company produces and designs the windows of a recreational vehicle. Lippert Components is a leading supplier of premium, quality windows for the residential housing, RV, bus, equestrian trailer, specialty vehicle and heavy truck industries.

The day is intended to get Elkhart County students to start thinking about pursuing a career in the manufacturing sector, said Toby Crowley, general manager of Lippert Plant 228, who helped lead the tour.

Crowley said not all students are college-bound after high school, and Manufacturing Day is valuable in showing them that  career options are available after they graduate.

“It seems in this day in age everyone is so adamant about kids having to go to college, otherwise they’ll never have a successful career, and we don’t believe that to be true whatsoever,” he said. “We believe that young adults who want to work hard and are passionate about winning and have a positive attitude can have a successful career in manufacturing without having to go to college.”

Crowley said there is a need for trained manufacturing workers in Elkhart County and showing kids they have other options after high school is important.

“I imagine as eighth-graders, many of the students aren’t sure what they want to do after they graduate high school,” he said. “It’s important that they know what’s out there and we’d love for some of these students to come work for Lippert Components after they graduate.”

Kylie Eaton, an eighth-grader at GMS, said she’s interested in getting into the manufacturing field at some point and appreciated how the tour gave her some early exposure.

“I like building things and with this tour we got to do more hands-on things that we don’t do at school,” she said.

Though Jaime Cruz, also an eighth-grader, doesn’t believe he’ll pursue a career in manufacturing, he said he thought Wednesday’s tour was educational.

“I enjoyed learning a bit about how to manufacture the windows of RVs,” he said.

(5) comments

Just saying

Never did understand the need for so many to look down their nose at factory work. It pays the bills and is honest work. I was raised by a factory worker. Never saw an ounce of welfare, had everything we needed and also several extras that made my childhood great. Where do you think this country would be without factories? Without the people who work in them? What would the better than thous spend their money on with no factories making all the stuff that's needed for them to buy? How did we become a country of "Im better than you"? Because of your job? Please!! That's ridiculous!! Pay your bills,take care of your family, pay taxes and you are still less than because you do a job most office people couldn't physically handle. Have you looked at what factories pay these days? I didn't earn with my first few years of college what I did putting myself through school...at a factory. If kids see that as an option, for a moment, or a lifetime. Who cares!!! Stop.


Considering the newly released ISTEP scores, it's good we're introducing the kids to a factory floor.

Just Facts

The agenda is clear. Teach down...keep'em in town.


Not every student wants to or should go to college. Our schools are trying to find pathways for all students. We have plenty of students who want to work they don't feel more schooling is in their immediate future. Those students need to be served as much as the college bound students.

Oh Whale

What's the harm in learning about an occupation? Just because they are teaching students about manufacturing, doesn't mean they will all stay in Elkhart and work in factories.
If this "agenda" (as you call it) were true, maybe we should schedule a field trip to have these kids learn about neurosurgery...

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