- Katherine Collins Staff Writer
About 600 high school students visited Honda’s Anna Engine Plant on Wednesday in an effort plant leaders said will help students better understand the plant and the work opportunities available to them.
Honda employs about 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties, and the automaker employs about 14,500 Ohioans overall.
The Anna Engine Plant is Honda’s largest engine plant, said Paul Dentinger, Anna Plant Manager. It employs about 3,200 people. This is the first time the plant has hosted a Manufacturing Day event where high school students can tour the plant, he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for us here at the Anna Engine Plant,” Dentinger said, “bringing in some of that hopefully future top talent.”
The plant hopes to host events like this in the future, Dentinger said.
This is the fifth year that the U.S. Census Bureau has recognized Manufacturing Day across the country, according to a release from the bureau. Manufacturing is an important economic sector in the country, the release says. The industry is the fourth largest employer in the United States, with 11.6 million workers, according the census bureau.
Visitors from 19 schools toured the plant on Wednesday, including students from the Upper Valley Career Center, Anna Local Schools and Sidney City Schools. The students walked the plant floor where they saw the assembly line and talked with engineers about the pieces that go into the engine and how they maintain the quality of those parts.
It’s an important time for the plant to reach out to young people, Dentinger said.
“Right now we have many people that will be retiring so the next generation of workforce is very important to us as we continue to grow as a company,” he said.
Plus many students have misconceptions about the Anna Engine Plant, he said.
“Most people think we’re just a manufacturing facility but actually Honda is much more than that,” he said.
There are positions at the company in marketing, human resources, accounting and more, he said.
The plant tour was eye-opening for Logan Siegel, a junior at Upper Valley Career Center.
“It’s hard to believe how many people work here … It made me really get excited about machining and the manufacturing industry,” he said.
Siegel is taking manufacturing classes at Upper Valley Career Center and said the tour was a confidence booster.
“It makes me confident to know that this is something I want to go down,” he said.
It showed another student at Upper Valley what it could be like to work at the plant.
“I could definitely see myself coming here if the things work out the way I want them to,” senior Nathan Hausfeld said.
He’s also taking manufacturing classes and was excited to learn he may not have to go far to get a good job.
“If you want to do this,” he said, “this is the place to be.”