Manufacturing Day


On October 4th, Manufacturing Day is naturally recognized and is the largest annual opportunity for educators, businesses and individuals to inspire the next generation to be apart of becoming the manufacturing workforce of the tomorrow. 

The primary goal of behind CWIMA's vision and initiatives towards a positive shift in perception around the manufacturing industry, is to align K-12 Education with Postsecondary Institutions and Industrial Employers to prepare the next generation of workforce talent for careers in Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing.  The driving force behind this initiative and the multi-faceted levels of collaboration, is the growing demand of Industry 4.0 skills within the Central Wisconsin workforce. 

Industry 4.0 technologies are rapidly transforming how people work in manufacturing, engineering and other sectors like transportation helping them become more productive by connecting new processes with smart devices to upload, analyze and utilize production data. The impact of these pieces of equipment will not only support alignment to industry trends but also cast a wider net of exposure to non-traditional students, specifically those who are interested in Math, Computer Science, Data Analytics, and Programming.

Interested in being apart of this manufacturing movement? Get in touch today and find out how you, or your company, can impact the future of the manufacturing workforce. 

County Materials


Since 1946, County Materials Corporation has manufactured trusted concrete construction and landscape products that are used to build the communities where Americans live, work and play. Our family-owned company was founded in Marathon, Wisconsin, and is proud to fulfill an essential role in developing the Central Wisconsin area and supporting our local economy with diverse jobs and reliable concrete products. Our organization employs a team of more than 2,000 dedicated, hard-working people in six states throughout the Midwest and Florida.

County Materials is also active in local communities where we have locations through the Sonnentag American Foundation. Our foundation supports programs and projects that empower and inspire people in four key service areas: Hunger & Homelessness Support, Service Member & Veteran Support, Sexual Abuse & Domestic Assault Services, and Mentoring & Skills Building. This partnership directly supports more than 60 nonprofit organizations and causes, including local chapters of The Women’s Community, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin, Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area, Patriot K9s of Wisconsin, and more.

Manufacturing careers are in high demand, and it’s a stable and growing industry in most economic conditions. County Materials provides our team members with opportunities and resources to build a fulfilling career that aligns with your skills and interests. We offer on-the-job training, competitive wages and benefits, and even relocation and leadership opportunities within the organization. Your initiative, interest and work ethic will provide you a chance to grow your career within our dynamic company and help build stronger communities.

Checkout what County Materials is up to:

To learn more about County Materials, please visit our website at



Wausau Tile


CWIMA has a strong member base consisting of incredible partners who share a common goal of inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in manufacturing. 

This month, we are proud to highlight Wausau Tile as they celebrate their 70th year. Wausau Tile recognizes the importance of continuing education in maintaining a successful operation and continuously creates and updates content based around this mission. 

A little about Wausau Tile is that they have created the industry’s strongest, longest-lasting architectural pavers that give architects and designers unmatched creative control.

Their state-of-the-art process uses more than 650 tons of compressive strength to forge a precisely engineered two-part mix into singular, 9,500 PSI-rated pavers that outperform the competition – in strength, durability, resistance to freeze-thaw damage, and aesthetics.

It’s not just concrete they're working with – it’s a recipe designed for success with ingredients and aggregates that must be mixed within a fraction of a percent to get specific outcomes. 

This all happens in their cutting-edge 100,000-square foot paver manufacturing facility, which gives our customers greater color, size and custom capabilities. Simply put: if you can dream it, they can do it. Wausau Tile‘s high-quality concrete pavers are made stronger, delivered and installed more efficiently, and crafted to bring any vision to life.

Wausau Tile offers courses on concrete usage, how to's, wind uplift, and so much more; which are accessible to everyone at no cost. Additionally, professionals can earn credits towards AIA and ASLA certification by completing these courses.

Explore more about these courses and learn more about all that Wausau Tile is up to:



5 Tips for a Great Interview!

5 Tips for a Great Interview!

Preparing for an interview is one of the best ways to avoid feeling nervous, so don’t underestimate the rewards you will reap by taking the following steps:

  1. Prepare! Even if you are applying for a job that you feel confident about performing the responsibilities, it’s still important to take some time to re-read your resume and the job posting. Look at sample interview questions - they can easily be found on the internet and then think through how you would answer. Talk with friends and family members about the interview process and ask them to share some of their interview experiences.  

  2. Look at the job posting and your resume to see what experiences or stories you could highlight during the interview that are relevant to the position for which you are applying. Make sure that your resume genuinely reflects your work history, including job titles and dates you were employed.

  3. Use your active listening skills. Active listening is giving full attention to the interviewer and offering non-verbal feedback, such as a smile, a nod, or a slight lean forward to show your interest. This conveys that you are enthusiastic about the job. Active listening also allows you to better hear important job requirements and better hear and understand the questions.  

  4. Respond fully to the questions. If you do not understand the question, ask the interviewer to repeat the question or ask for classification. Answer succinctly and confidently.

  5. Mean business! Help the interviewer visualize you in the role by communicating about the job and the business in a professional manner. When given an opportunity to engage in small talk, typically in the beginning of the interview, ask questions about the business. Make sure you maintain good posture and dress for the work culture. If you are unsure of what that is, ask prior to the interview.  

Tips and Tricks for a Great Job Fair Experience

Tips and Tricks for a Great Job Fair Experience
  1. Dress to make a good first impression. Business casual is acceptable but make sure your clothing is neat and clean.  

  2. Go to the employer! Don’t wait for the employer to reach out to you. Introduce yourself and be prepared to ask a question about the business, job opportunities, internships, etc.

  3. Prepare! Before the job fair, practice how you would answer conversational questions, “What kind of work are you looking for? Why are you interested in my company? Tell me a little bit about yourself?”

  4. Share something unique about yourself to stand out among the other job fair participants.  

  5. Have fun! Job fairs are a great opportunity to practice your interview skills in a less formal environment.  

What’s Cool About a Career in Manufacturing

What’s Cool About a Career in Manufacturing
  1. You get to work in a casual environment.

  2. You have many opportunities for improvement/advancement. 

  3. There are many different jobs to choose from.

  4. Your work is “hands on.”

  5. You get the satisfaction of seeing the end result of your efforts right away.

  6. You work with many different types of people (different ages, cultures, backgrounds, positions).

  7. You constantly learn new things.

  8. You work in a team-oriented workplace, solving problems together.

  9. You can choose from different shifts.

  10. You get a wide variety of work assignments.

  11. Every team member is responsible for product quality.

  12. Often manufacturing companies pay your tuition for any training you may need for the job you are performing or a job you will have in the future. 

Manufacturing drives our local and national economy.  Factories produce products and create jobs that keep our state and country strong. 

Building a Personal Brand

Building a Personal Brand

Personal branding is a way a person wants to be seen and known. Why is personal branding important? People make choices every day that help build their brand. When it is time to enter the working world, a personal brand is what an employer will consider. If your current or future employer viewed your social networking accounts, status, updates, tweets, postings from friends or other public pictures or writings, what impression would they have of you.  

How to build a personal brand?

  • Start now! Once words, pictures, content is posted, it will be difficult or impossible to remove.  Before posting anything, ask yourself if it is something you would want to explain to a future employer? 

  • Your personal brand should convey truthfully the positive aspects about yourself.

  • Companies express themselves through their actions, appearance, and choices – all of which build a reputation.  Choices you make now are part of the brand you are building. 

Myths About Manufacturing Careers

Myths About Manufacturing Careers
  1. Manufacturing is a poor career choice. Sometimes manufacturing gets a bad rap! It is dirty and dangerous, or there is fear that lay-offs will take place due to automation. Manufacturing looks much different today. There is a need for workers at all levels in manufacturing, such as entry-level positions, service technicians, programmers, application engineers, software engineers, and more. Jobs are also available in accounting, marketing, sales, and customer service.  Many manufacturing companies are high-tech, and production facilities are safe, clean, and they work very hard to protect the well-being of their employees. 

  2. Manufacturing jobs are on the decline. There are more unfilled manufacturing jobs than there are qualified workers to fill them. With baby boomers retiring, there aren’t nearly enough employees entering the manufacturing workforce to fill the open jobs. 

  3. Manufacturing jobs don’t pay well. Manufacturing is a massive industry with many different positions. Because there are so many manufacturing jobs available, companies have increased their wages to remain competitive.  

  4. Robots are replacing humans. Automation replacing workers rarely happens. While robots eliminate some jobs, it’s also creating jobs and making them safer. Robots allow manufactures to shift their focus to adding more skilled human workers who can design, innovate, and think critically.  

Not sure what to do after high school? Consider a Manufacturing Career!

Not sure what to do after high school? Consider a Manufacturing Career!

If you’re looking to start a profession that offers growth opportunities and a stable income, consider a manufacturing career.

The manufacturing industry fuels the U.S. economy and employs nearly 10 percent of people in the country. Manufacturing is a leader in technology and innovation, offering many different types of jobs and opportunities to advance your skills training. Even during the pandemic in 2020-21, the manufacturing industry remained strong and recovered well while other sectors were stagnant. With so many companies currently looking to hire new employees, now is an ideal time to become part of this booming industry.


Why Manufacturing Rocks!

Learn on the job and gain real-world experience.

The manufacturing industry provides many opportunities for high school graduates who are seeking an entry-level position and want to gain practical, real-world experience. Most manufacturing companies offer on-the-job training and require no previous work experience. This is a great way to build your resume and develop technical abilities. You will also learn valuable and transferable skills, such as time management, teamwork, and problem-solving. Additionally, the manufacturing industry and companies that manufacture products offer many different areas for you to work in. From natural materials, food production, textiles, construction materials, to pharmaceuticals and more, manufacturing spans the spectrum. You can choose to work in a field you’re passionate or curious about. A career in manufacturing is an ideal job choice for recent graduates and people looking to expand their work experience or transition into a new industry. 


You can see the results of your hard work.

When you have a career in manufacturing, you see exactly how your work matters. The products you help to produce and deliver are real and support other companies and communities. You can see what their impact is and tell others that “I made that!” It’s rewarding to know that the work you do will always influence the lives of others, whether it’s in the things they do and or the things they purchase.


Earn a steady and good income in manufacturing.

Unfortunately, there’s a perception that manufacturing jobs aren’t good jobs and don’t pay as much as other jobs. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Manufacturing careers are highly desirable and often pay better than jobs in different industries. Even at entry-level jobs, the average production worker makes $3 more per hour than the average cashier. Manufacturing jobs typically offer overtime opportunities, which is a great way to make extra money on top of a steady income. Competitive wages and benefits, including insurance, healthcare benefits and retirement plans, are also common among manufacturing employers. In the U.S., nearly 91% of manufacturing workers get health benefits. That’s more than most industries, even the financial sector. 


Manufacturing keeps you moving and active..

If sitting one place isn’t for you like a traditional office desk job, a manufacturing job can help keep you fit and stimulated. For many manufacturing positions, you’re performing a variety of job duties in a typical day that may involve moving around, being on your feet, bending, stretching, lifting, etc. The physical aspect of manufacturing work not only helps keep you in shape, it makes the day fly by without feeling bored. That doesn’t mean every job in manufacturing requires you to lift heavy weights on a regular basis. There are a wide range of positions and options within manufacturing to consider. You may assemble items, move products, or even operate machinery. You can pick a job that has the level of physical activity you feel comfortable with. 


Manufacturing offers professional growth and development opportunities.

Even if you start out as an entry-level production role in manufacturing, there are many other opportunities to grow in a manufacturing company and the wider industry. Especially in today’s tight job market, many companies prefer to promote from within. Once you have your foot in the door, you can potentially grow into leadership or management positions in a wide variety of departments. You might get trained as a machine operator, a plant operator, or even a quality control inspector. Your initiative, interest and work ethic will help you pave the way for opportunities in no time. This is your chance to grow your career, develop a more specialized skill set and transition into higher-paying jobs.

Key Skills for Technology and Manufacturing Careers

Key Skills for Technology and Manufacturing Careers

Step 1: Life Basics

Focus on excelling at the "life basics." All the skills in the world won't allow you to have a promising career if you aren't reliable and people find you difficult to work with. Develop habits now of showing up, being on time, staying "on task," being polite, showing a willingness to learn, and having a positive attitude. Regardless of the career path you choose, these good habits will serve you well. 

Step 2: Hands-on Experience

Get hands-on experience with projects around home or work. Seize any opportunities you have with friends or family to get experience with mechanical or building projects. Even simple projects like changing the oil in the lawnmower, changing the car battery, building a birdhouse, or deer blind are good ways to learn some basic skills like using simple hand tools, reading a tape measure, etc. If you have a job, ask your boss to involve you with mechanical projects around work. Better yet, try to find a summer job or school-to-work opportunity at a machining or fabrication shop so they can immerse you in manufacturing and work with others who have already chosen careers in these fields. Working with hands-on projects also gives you the chance to experience pride in building or fixing something. That sense of accomplishment is a key reason so many people find significant gratification in careers in welding and machining. A student who knows their way around a workshop or has some basic handyman skills have a leg up on students who have never used a tape measure or spun a wrench. Most career opportunities in advanced manufacturing require people to have good manual dexterity. Being good with your hands and enjoying that type of work are essential traits if you consider this career path. 

Step 3: The Basics Matter

Pay attention in school—the basics matter. Plain and straightforward careers in advanced manufacturing rely heavily on math and reading skills. Daily, most jobs in advanced manufacturing require individuals to perform basic math calculations quickly. Just as frequently, they use some geometry skills to determine layouts and complete similar portions of their job. While a machinist may never need to apply calculus, using basic math, geometry, and some algebra is essential. Having a solid ability to work with fractions and knowing how to calculate the sides of a right triangle or the circumference of a circle are examples of everyday skills for welders, machinists, and fabricators. Also, don't underestimate reading skills! Given the technical nature of advanced manufacturing, there is a lot of technical detail communicated on blueprints, equipment operating manuals, standard operating procedures, etc. Being able to read and absorb this information is vitally important quickly and accurately. 

Step 4: Choose Electives

Choose your electives wisely. When you take different elective classes, choose those with a mechanical, technical, and math slant over other electives. Ideally (if you are in or will go into high school), your high school will offer welding and machining classes. These should be at the top of your elective choices. If your high school does not offer welding or machining classes, get in touch with CWIMA and let us know. We work with many high schools, and we may donate equipment or find other ways of providing better training opportunities for your school. Like nearly all facets of modern life, welding and machining heavily depend on computers. Most modern machining centers are CNC. Welders are computerized. Robotic welding relies heavily on skilled programmers with strong welding knowledge. Classes in geometry, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), computer programming, science, physics, and even wood shop are other examples of electives that help build the skills needed for your career.