The purpose of National Manufacturing Day is to celebrate those who proudly stand behind goods and services made in America, and the RV industry has every reason to join the party.

Manufacturers of RVs, and their legion of suppliers, continue to develop products and unlock new technologies that grow our economy. The industry creates jobs through entrepreneurship, and competitiveness has been a key component of the revitalization of American manufacturing.

Now in its eighth year, National Manufacturing Day is not just a celebration, but also an intentional effort to improve public perception of manufacturing in America. The effort is executed at the local level and supported by thousands of manufacturers as they host students, teachers, parents, job seekers and other local community members at open houses designed to showcase modern manufacturing technology and careers.

Indeed, what could be better than a national opportunity to shine a bright light on the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States and to showcase the tremendous possibilities that come with a career in advanced manufacturing? This week, as a part of Manufacturing Day, thousands of middle school students have been touring manufacturing plants across Elkhart County, including many RV and supplier plants.

The RV industry, like much of American manufacturing, is in the midst of a digital renaissance. Companies have begun embracing the use of digital technologies to improve their processes such as the use of tablets and computer-aided design to develop the newest products. To be competitive in today’s industry, manufacturers in the RV industry and many others are responding with significant reductions in their time to market, with massively improved flexibility to enable individualized mass production, all at reduced energy and resource consumption.

It’s important to remember that investing in the modernization of manufacturing infrastructure will allow the U.S. to capture a competitive edge, but the factories of the future won’t run themselves. By 2020, there will be a shortfall of nearly 10 million skilled workers in manufacturing-related industries in America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to using technology to increase efficiency, there is an urgent need to invest in the future workforce. To address this need, the RV industry is stepping up, specifically with the investment in the RV Technical Institute.

As President Donald J. Trump said when signing the proclamation for National Manufacturing Day, “From the founding of our nation, from Washington to Jefferson, from Jackson to McKinley, our nation has long understood that our strength as a country depends upon the strength of our domestic industry. We’re all better off when we make, buy, and sell more products made in the USA. And that’s what’s happening in our country, and you see it. And the levels of enthusiasm are incredible.”