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Waterloo Region Record
By Rose Simone
WATERLOO REGION — The "steel-collar workers" are moving in.
But while many people fear the rise of these robots and automated machines taking jobs away from human labourers, they also represent a huge opportunity for the survival of the manufacturing sector in this area, said Larry Smith, a University of Waterloo economics professor, during Manufacturing Day events on Friday.
Manufacturing Day started in the United States three years ago but it was held in this area for the first time, organized locally by the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin.
The goal is to change the public image of manufacturing and to get more young people to pursue careers in manufacturing industries that are crying out for skilled people.
A total of 16 area manufacturers participated by hosting plant tours to show more than 300 high school students and members of the public what is made locally and how it's made.
They saw everything from die sets and steel plates made at Anchor Danly in Cambridge, to chrome-plated bumpers at Kuntz Electroplating in Kitchener, to charge parts and feed screws at Septimatech in Waterloo. They saw digital movie projectors at Christie Digital in Kitchener and all-terrain vehicles made by Ontario Drive and Gear in New Hamburg, including a prototype of a rover being developed for NASA that was on display at Conestoga College.