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Local manufacturers open their doors

REGION — More than 17.4 million Americans work in manufacturing with an average annual salary of $77,000, yet “82 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage in skilled production workers,” according to a report published by the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

In an effort to raise awareness of the need for skilled laborers, over 1,600 manufacturing plants across America opened their doors for tours on Oct. 3.

“Today’s science, technology, engineering, and math graduates will power the next chapter of American production and innovation, and harnessing their potential is an economic imperative. When our manufacturing base is strong, our entire economy is strong,” President Barack Obama said in a proclamation declaring Oct. 3 National Manufacturing Day.

In Carlsbad, ViaSat, Alphatec Spine, Inc., and TaylorMade Golf gave tours of their manufacturing facilities.

TaylorMade Golf has 162 full-time employees to assemble clubs in their facility off El Camino Real year-round with a need for more employees when operations pick up around April and May.

“We’re relying on humans to do it,” said Jim McKim, Tooling and Process Engineer at TaylorMade.

Skilled manufacturers assemble more than 6 million clubs annually at the facility and the lack of automation allows the production to stay flexible, McKim said.

A new product is released about every six months.

TaylorMade debuted the metal driver in 1979 in Illinois and continues to release innovative technology, such as a white driver that minimizes reflection.

Founder Gary Taylor decided to move TaylorMade to Carlsbad because the weather allows for year-round play and because the aerospace industry in San Diego offered a talent pool full of innovators, Melissa Claassen, Chief Financial Officer at TaylorMade said.

“The innovation just hasn’t stopped,” Claasen said.

Research and development is also located in the building.

The parts are manufactured in Asia and shipped to the Carlsbad facility for assembly, according to Jory Mendes, Global Communications specialist at TaylorMade, because Taylor was a big proponent of keeping jobs in America.

Carlsbad manufacturers have expressed a need for more skilled workers and in July the city agreed to lease a building to MiraCosta Community College to open a North San Diego Technology Career Institute.

Students were able to enroll this fall in the 12 or 16-week program but space is limited until the program moves into the city-owned building on Las Palmas Drive in January.

Another manufacturer in the region that took part in the National Manufacturing Day was Stone Brewing in Escondido.

Stone is the tenth-largest craft brewery in America and produces 213,000 barrels of beer a year, according to Justin Holmes, Indoctrination Specialist at Stone Brewing.

Over 100 brewers and bottlers work on-site to produce Stone’s renowned India Pale Ale (IPA)-style beers.

The brewery has more than half a million dollars worth of hops at any given time to make the hop-heavy IPAs, according to Holmes.

The company plans to expand to Germany making it the first American craft-brewery to operate in Europe.

Expansion to the east coast is also in the works, according to Holmes. Columbus, Ohio, Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia are among the cities being considered, Holmes said.

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