Digital manufacturing leader Protolabs (NYSE: PRLB) will be showcased as part of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) State of Manufacturing Tour, which highlights manufacturing’s digital transformation, the job opportunities created by this transformation, and the skills required now to work in the industry. The cross-country tour will run from February 19-28, stopping on Feb. 22 at Protolabs’ U.S. 3D printing facility in Raleigh, NC, and the company’s Minneapolis-area CNC machining and injection molding facilities on Feb. 25.
NAM’s President and CEO Jay Timmons and Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee will be a part of Protolabs’ events, which will host students (at the Minnesota event) and include tours of the manufacturing facilities.
“This year’s tour is about highlighting the ‘next frontier’ in manufacturing, and every day Protolabs deploys the type of advanced technologies that define modern manufacturing,” said Timmons. “We are excited to tell Protolabs’ story and the positive impact the company is having on communities across the country.”
Timmons and Lee will also participate in roundtable discussions with Protolabs employees about the current state of manufacturing, workforce opportunities, and how to adapt to changes as the industry continues to evolve. In Minnesota, they will be joined by Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Mayor, and E.J. Daigle, Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing at Minneapolis’ Dunwoody College of Technology.
“Protolabs is a pioneer in digital manufacturing,” said Vicki Holt, President and CEO of Protolabs, who also serves as the Small and Medium Manufacturers Vice Chair on NAM’s board of directors. “We’re excited to be part of this event to provide an up-close view of what manufacturing looks like today, how this digital evolution benefits product developers, and how this tech-enabled manufacturing landscape is creating new opportunities for workers.”
The NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million workers, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, and accounts for more than three-quarters of all private- sector research and development in the country, according to NAM statistics. The Manufacturing Institute is the workforce and education partner of the NAM.
The Feb. 22 Raleigh event starts with a tour at 4 p.m. (ET), followed by a roundtable discussion with NAM’s Timmons and Lee and Protolabs employees. The 77,000 sq.-ft. Raleigh facility houses Protolabs’ 3D printing services and is considered one of the largest additive manufacturing plants in the world.
The Feb. 25 Minnesota events start with a tour of the Plymouth plant at 9:30 a.m. (CT), followed by a tour of the Brooklyn Park facility at 10:30 a.m. At 11 a.m., also in Brooklyn Park, Timmons, Lee, Frey, Daigle, Protolabs employees, and area students will meet for a roundtable discussion of manufacturing workforce opportunities. Protolabs’ 154,000 sq.-ft. Plymouth plant includes injection molding services, and its 215,000 sq.-ft. Brooklyn Park facility, which opened this past fall, houses CNC machining services.