Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.

July 18, 2024

Alyssa Rodrigues: Forging a New Path for Women and Small Manufacturers in AlaskaFor Alyssa Rodrigues, director of the Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), helping women achieve success in manufacturing is more than a job, it’s a calling. Alyssa says diversity is important to the future of manufacturing, especially when it comes to including women at the leadership level. Alyssa’s efforts go beyond empowering women. The Alaska MEP is helping smaller manufacturers and startups make connections in the state to become part of a larger, wealth-building community. “Manufacturing is one of those industries where you can start out making a living wage,” she says. “Those living wage jobs can build generational wealth and change long-term family outcomes.”

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July 8, 2024

Child Labor Law Compliance in the Manufacturing IndustryFederal child labor laws prohibit the employment of kids under the age of 16 in any workplace where goods are manufactured. Safe first jobs allow young people to develop skills, earn money, and gain valuable experience—these are the kinds of good jobs that can put young workers on the path to good careers. For the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, protecting children in the workplace has always been and continues to be a top priority.

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June 27, 2024

Industry 4.0 and cybersecurity – How to protect your investmentThe connectivity of Industry 4.0 brings manufacturers many benefits, but the cost of protecting critical systems and data cannot be an afterthought. This is why cybersecurity should be one of the first things to consider with any technology investment. Manufacturers secure their facilities from intruders, and they would be wise to do the same for their operational technology (OT), data, and connectivity.

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June 17, 2024

Tap into a new talent pool to fill your workforce gaps: Second chance citizensAs manufacturers look to expand their talent pool, one often overlooked demographic is second chance citizens – people who were previously incarcerated and are ready to return to the workforce. These individuals often bring valuable skills and a willingness to learn and grow with your company. Manufacturers have seen success with more than 80% of managers report that the value these workers bring to companies is just as high as the value that their employees without criminal records provide, according to the Manufacturing Institute. Promising outcomes like these are why the Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (Indiana MEP Center) training program, Manufacturing Skills for Success (MS4S), has resonated with second chance citizens.

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June 7, 2024

The MEP National Network’s Supply Chain Optimization and Intelligence Network: Helping Manufacturers Bridge GapsWhen a foreign company wants to manufacture goods in the U.S., it needs new domestic suppliers for just about everything. When such an initiative involves new technology, it creates even more opportunities for a regional ecosystem and associated supply chains.

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June 4, 2024

Leading the MEP Program – and Giving Back to this Land of Hope and PromiseAs part of a series celebrating and sharing the stories of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander manufacturing leaders, MEP Acting Director G. Nagesh Rao, a self-professed “Lego nerd”, shares how he got interested in manufacturing, what he likes most about it, and the importance of his work helping U.S. manufacturers succeed. “The MEP National Network, with an MEP Center in every state and Puerto Rico, helps make that magic possible. It’s a center of gravity for those various manufacturing innovation ecosystems. It’s infectious and exciting to me to be an architect helping bring about a better tomorrow here in America.”

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May 9, 2024

Empowering Women Will Create a Culture That Benefits AllCompanies with above-average gender and racial/ethnic #diversity are eight times more likely to be in the top 10% of organizations for financial performance. Manufacturing leaders can increase their financial performance by empowering all employees, especially women, to accelerate their careers, improve their skills, and gain recognition in the workplace. Simply hiring more women is not enough to close your workforce gaps. You will become more successful through a strategic approach to addressing workplace issues in ways that benefit all employees. Your local MEP Center has experts who can help you make the right investments in your people. Learn more with this blog from Kristen Goodell of Catalyst Connection, part of the MEP National Network.

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April 18, 2024

NIST Explores AI-Enhanced Monitoring in Manufacturing ProcessesManufacturers across all industries are looking for technological solutions and enhancements to maintain their competitive advantage. The growing connectivity of devices, coupled with high demands of production and precision, mandate robust monitoring and control systems. As technologies develop, how can manufacturers determine the best products for their applications, and how do developers find the high-fidelity data needed to test and evaluate their products? The Industrial Artificial Intelligence Management and Metrology (IAIMM) team led by Dr. Michael Sharp at NIST has a mission to provide evaluation guides and metrics to give apples-to-apples comparisons and assessments of all levels of intelligent automation.

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April 11, 2024

Making it Happen in a Man’s WorldWith a career of more than 40 years in the manufacturing industry, Brenda Martin can look back now and see that she was greatly influenced by her father, who worked for an engineering firm. She has worked with the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS, the Iowa MEP Center) for more than 20 years. As the Workforce Programs Director, she applies her industry experience to helping CIRAS and its manufacturing clients. Her advice for women interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing is to answer the question “What is it I want?” Then make it happen! Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know.

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April 3, 2024

If You Build It, They Will Come – Opening Day Musings From a Baseball FanBaseball’s Opening Day brings with it both nostalgia and excitement. Everyone is brimming with hope for what the season might hold. I’m amazed to now realize how much manufacturing contributes to the game I love. The more I learn about the manufacturing industry, the more I realize that it’s intricately woven into all aspects of our lives. The baseball analogy made me want to learn more about how manufacturing is intertwined with baseball.

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