According to the CDC, roughly 5.4 million adults in the U.S. are autistic. This April, celebrate differences in honor of Autism Acceptance Month. Here are five ways you can celebrate peoples’ differences: 

1. Learn About Autism 

Check out the Autism Society and learn about Autism and how everyone’s story is different. 

2. Read a Book  

Population One: Autism, Adversity, and the Will to Succeed with give you a deeper understanding of what life looks like from the eyes of a teenager who is autistic. Population One Autism Adversity and the Will to Succeed Tyler McNamer

3. Volunteer at an Event 

Use organizations like JustServe and volunteer at local or remote events that encourage and celebrate differences.  

4. Participate in a Run/Walk  

Promote awareness and acceptance of Autism by participating in this virtual run/walk from anywhere you’d like.  

Autism Acceptance Run Walk April 1-30 2022

5. Get Involved 

Advocates, Non-Profits, and various communities work daily to support the continued development around policies and programs that provide a positive impact on individuals and families with autism. Use Autism Speaks Resource Guide to see where you can get involved in your local community. 

As this not-so-seemingly-but-actually-super-short month comes to a close—many of us encounter a wide range of emotions. February, the month of heightened love and painful history, uplifting Black voices in new ways that truly allow us to reconnect with strangers nearby. Yet, one question still parades its way through our minds—Am I doing enough? How do I know? Where do I start? 

Let’s start with the basics 

And, as alarming as this may seem, there is no right answer. Diversity isn’t a right or wrong thing to celebrate, it simply exists and grows with us as we begin to grow ourselves. To acknowledge diversity is to acknowledge our unique individual qualities that make our communities so inspirational. It pushes us to grow through constant lessons of mindfulness and trials of social belonging. The celebration of this path is essential, and I am here to share a few ways (28 to be exact!) to continue celebrating, acknowledging, and challenging diversity in all aspects of life beyond Black History Month. 

One step at a time may seem tiring, but how else will you get there? Everyone starts somewhere, everyone—including me. 

Here are 28 practical ways to celebrate diversity  

  1. Consider utilizing the “Black-Owned” category on Etsy: This feature highlights and showcases Black artists within a wide range of crafts!
  2. Need a new podcast? Check out Black-Owned podcasts. Celisia Stanton is a Minnesota native who hosts the Truer Crime podcast for those of you who enjoy Criminal Minds and CSI! If you are hoping for something a little more focused on history, consider listening to Historically Black where they cover a variety of modern and past events.
  3. Brew another cup of coffee. Consider supporting a local or Black-owned shop! A simple Google search can show you a variety of places in your area. (Did you know Minneapolis has 10 in the metro alone?)
  4. Spice up your décor! This may seem like an obvious suggestion but stop at Target or HomeGoods. A vast majority of their original tags discuss the origin story. This is a great way to educate yourself about cultural objects (without the school lecture)!
  5. Uncover your family tree. Learn something new this year! Connect with a family member you don’t see often to ask about their favorite memories. If you are feeling adventurous, 23andMe has a deliverable DNA testing kit that allows you to learn more about your origins. They also tend to offer quite a discount if you refer your friends!
  6. Join a committee. Whether this is at work, at school, or in the community, committees highlight new perspectives and voices with a common goal: succeeding together!
  7. Take a workshop. One thing about diversity is that it never disappears or stops adapting. As we continue to grow and pursue our life goals, we always learn something new. Take employment, school, or community-based workshops to meet new people whenever you can.
  8. Conduct candid conversations. Don’t be afraid to get uncomfortable talking to different members of communities about difficult topics. Listen with the intent to understand and it can do wonders connecting you to others and creating a new relationship dynamic that is accepting and open. The key to doing this successfully is respect, not attacking one another personally and having an understanding that you each want the same goal. 
  9. Attend local events. Whether it be a food festival, football game, the Polar Plunge, or a craft fair, local events allow for you to learn and connect with others outside of the traditional environments the workplace and school can provide.
  10. Take in an art exhibition. Many art centers have culturally curated displays that are powerful, moving, and exciting to look at. They contain new pieces of artwork that may not be familiar to you and are available year-round.
  11. Take up some new history books. Apple offers frequent discounts on Black-Owned publications; alongside this learning about diversity today, varying levels of privilege can provide a new perspective.
  12. Use inclusive language. If you haven’t heard of it, please Google it. This is the key to having any candid conversation, constructive action, and you most likely use this in your work environments! If not, implementing inclusive language can strengthen any public space—professional or personal – by creating a base line of respect.
  13. Change your surroundings. Visit a new place. If you choose to utilize the resort life, take some time to explore nearby ruins or villages!
  14. Check your friendships! No, this doesn’t mean check out all of your friends and determine if they are inclusive and accepting—you choose your friends for a reason! This is about learning a bit more about their upbringing or traditions that you may not have thought to ask before.
  15. Research. Research. Research. Perhaps watching YouTube videos or looking up new events that happen in your day would be beneficial. Just today, I looked up a recipe from one of my favorite animes “Lucky Star,” where they discuss how to properly eat a Chocolate Coronet. For some reason, this is my absolute favorite episode and I ended up not only searching the recipes, but learning about how others eat it, how it is very hard to find premade in midwestern stores vs. the east coast, and just how many of us don’t know how to pronounce this Japanese treat!Lucky Star Chocolate Coronet Diversity Month

    Watch the full clip here: Lucky Star – Official Clip – How Do You Eat a Chocolate Coronet? 

    1. Revamp your holiday calendar! Our iPhones and Androids do a great job of creating world calendars, yet it’s impossible for them to grab everything. So why not get the family together, or friends, and create a calendar of events that are important to you? Even a fun Canva party to create the board over Zoom would be pandemic friendly!
    2. Test your language skills. Duolingo, a quick and convenient app that allows for you to take up a new language! If you want to learn a bit more about the history of the language, try Udemy. It has a variety of teachers and courses that can provide cultural knowledge as well as helping you enunciate!
    3. Provide support locally. Try your local farmers market, artisan shops and boutiques! Travel a few cities away and see what neat opportunities they may have. Partner up with a nonprofit organization and volunteer alone or with your family.
    4. Start a committee. Don’t have a committee nearby? Consider starting one! Nothing brings together classmates, coworkers, and friends better than a group with opportunities to think creatively and critically!
    5. Support advancement! Don’t hesitate to recognize others within the workplace for leadership positions and their hard work. Alongside this, offer your support or advice on how to run a diversity workshop or create a team.
    6. Find a new recipe! One of my favorite assignments in high school was to recreate a recipe based on the language course you were in. The twist with this was they had to be traditional recipes and not Americanized, which often led to exploring diverse markets for native ingredients. (I learned how to make flan!)
    7. Correct missteps. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, gets it right the first time. Maybe not even the 50th. The important thing to remember is that you are trying just like everyone else. Do your best to take accountability for an action that may be perceived as harmful and connect with various parties to find out what you can do to avoid future conflict.
    8. Check your world map. Let’s revisit an old game – spin the globe and wherever your finger lands, travel there! Not really, but in all honesty, pick a movie from the country, or find a news article, podcast, or YouTube video and add to your knowledge base!
    9. Host a potluck! In a community, school or work environment, have everyone create a dish they grew up with and share stories along the way!
    10. Take your Spotify playlist to a whole new level! Search a language you may be familiar with (or not) and select a random playlist. Give it a listen. You might find some new favorites. Mine happens to be Top Italia.
    11. Think globally. Day-to-day, we think of the small-scale events. Consider what it may be like to think on a larger scale! For years, my phone was set to military time, which helped me connect with my friends in Europe more frequently. You could do this, challenge yourself to a recipe without our standard measurements, or simply just let your curiosity Google new events for you!
    12. Assess your public spaces. Who do you see? What do you think is lacking? Do your friends or coworkers have the same concerns? Think of a way to “dress it up!” whether it’s by decorating, creating an accomplishment board, or having candid conversations to enhance the space.
    13. Understand cultural appropriation vs. appreciation. This is a huge conflict in tackling diversity. The moral of the story is, do your research, learn about cultures, and respect them. A growing trend recently is with African waist beads which brings up the issue that no one really knows where they are from and that they’re not just a beauty trend. The African waist beads were created by Nigerian women (dating all the way back to the 15th century) to show where they were from, as well as a promise to their bodies to pursue their intentional goal much like chakra healing. These traditions are meant to be worn until the day they break or fall off. 
     

    A final note to leave you with 

    Wise words from my younger self on what diversity is: The beams each become a new unique color, a new unique voice emerging and combining with others. As it grew, it would become a beautiful mesh of colors, the sphere lighting up the room as it continues to grow. It holds more warmth, surrounding the environment with a soft smell of lilacs, the feeling of the world and stresses would seem to melt away. It changed through acceptance, through learning and validation. To taking in the small appreciations we have in the world and worrying less about unrealistic expectations as we roam free…Most of all, I serve as a guide along this journey. This is not something I can do for you, this is not something I can tell you; you must do, this is something I merely supply for you to explore and will go along with you. 

The Great Resignation. The Great Renegotiation. The Great Repriotization. These are all terms we’ve heard often in the last year due to unprecedented levels of Americans quitting their jobs in 2021. Of the 68+ million workers who left their jobs, 47+ million of them voluntary quit. And those who voluntarily left their jobs did so for a wide variety of reasons. Some decided to retire early; some were secondary earners who decided to stay home; others were concerned with the consequences of working during a pandemic. However, many also decided to leave for greener pastures filled with better pay, perks, flexibility, autonomy, career growth, and treatment. The job market is strong, and workers are taking advantage of this. Some are new to job switching while others are not. For those that do this frequently, they are often called Career Nomads.

 

What is a Career Nomad?

Career Nomads are workers who move from opportunity to opportunity with the goal of learning and earning. They like to make an impact at one company and then move on to make an impact at another. And now is a prime time for this thanks to low unemployment and high turnover.

Who is a Career Nomad?

It’s a common belief that the Career Nomad workforce consists mainly of two generations: Millennials and Generation Z. This isn’t too far off since it’s been shown that Millennials stay at jobs for an average of 2.4 years before moving on while Gen Z stays for just over one year. However, that’s changing quickly. More and more Gen Xers and even Baby Boomers are finding that staying at one company isn’t for them either.

Why be a Career Nomad?

There are MANY reasons to turn to the Career Nomad lifestyle. These include:

  • A better compensation package, including benefits and PTO
  • A better work schedule
  • More autonomy
  • The ability to work remotely
  • Better management
  • Better company culture
  • More interesting work
  • More growth opportunity
  • Less boredom

How to become a Career Nomad?

If you currently work in Manufacturing and are interested in becoming a Career Nomad, look no further than PMG. We offer you all the perks of the Career Nomad lifestyle without the work of having to find the next job. With PMG, you will travel across the US, receive premium compensation and benefits, have a flexible work schedule, and work at a multitude of companies where you can share your knowledge while also learning.

Join our team of talented technicians here!

The process of melting metal, pouring it into a mold, and casting it into a specific shape (metal casting) is centuries old. In fact, scientists and archeologists have found relics all over the world. The oldest relic dates back to anywhere from 300 BC to 645 BC (2300 – 2600 years old), depending upon whom you ask. A large majority of relics are found in Mesopotamia. It’s in this area that clay castings and hot fire pits were used to shape copper, gold, and silver. The first alloy (bronze) was made here, when copper was combined with tin.  

Over the years, metal casting has changed due to a wide variety of reasons. The two largest factors include increased mining abilities and less nomadic lifestyles.  

Historical Moments for Foundries 

19th Century: During this time, developments include the open-hearth furnace, sandblasting for casting cleaning, and gear-tilted ladles. This greatly improved the safety of foundry workers. 

It was this during time that foundries really helped the US economy become industrialized, as well, with metal casters and foundries at the forefront for railroad tracks and iron-clad warships, as well as the first Naval submarine in 1881! 

Timeline of Historical Moments for Foundries

20th Century: This century brought the invention of the first coreless electric induction furnace in addition to new molding and casting processes, new metal composites and compounds including low carbon stainless steel.  

Additionally, metal casting was key to US manufacturing. It was introduced to a wide variety of industries including air conditioning, modern defense-related products, and even space exploration. Foundries sprang up everywhere in North America during the 20th century.  

Fun fact: the first American Foundry Society (AFS) meeting was held in 1896, but the first student chapter didn’t come until 1907, and was started in Minnesota. This was the same year that a patent was issued for high-pressure die casting machinery. 

Foundries Now  

Today, metal castings are a $33 billion dollar industry in the United States. There are nearly 1,900 foundries in the US with close to 200,000 employees. It’s the source of many things we use on a daily basis. Some say castings are found in 90% of durable manufactured goods, and yet they often take the background for popularity. However, castings hold a major role in so many things including clean water technologies, farm equipment, energy systems and components, and so much more. Foundries aren’t like they used to be, either. If you step into a foundry now, you’ll see many new adaptations and technology to make them not only safer but also efficient. These technologies include CAD design, casting analyses, 3D printing, and robots. It’s very expansive and very important.  

If you’re interested in hearing more, you can check out our article on how steel is made in addition to this great factory tour of the St. Paul Factory here in Minnesota. You’ll not only see molten metal, but you’ll see some of the up-to-date technology used to make castings. After that, take a moment to look around you. You’ll find castings everywhere!

General PPE Made Easy

The National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) recommends Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as the last line of defense to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. This means that other controls, like elimination or substitution, may do more to ensure the safety of the overall organization. But nothing does more than PPE to protect the individual worker in the event of a hazard.

We’ve created this PPE checklist to help you cover all your safety equipment bases at work.

The Basics

There are many kinds of equipment intended for specific kinds of protection. A hazard assessment can help identify which specific PPE is most needed at a particular site or facility. They all generally fall under one of four basic types:

  • Face and Eye Protection
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Skin and Body Protection
  • Hearing Protection

All these types of PPE have their own sub-categories that can vary greatly. Let’s examine each in a little more detail.

Face and Eye Protection

safety glasses ppe checklist

PPE intended to guard your face and eyes from damage due to sprays, splashes, projectiles, or burns. Some types of PPE in this category include:

  • Goggles
  • Safety Glasses
  • Face shields
  • Welding Visors

*Pro-Tip: Always check that glasses and lenses conform to ANSI Z87.1 standard and are free of cracks or other deformities.

Respiratory Protection

respiratory ppe mask

PPE intended to protect your lungs and internal organs during any task that can cause inhalation of harmful materials. Some types of PPE in this category include:

  • Full-face respirators
  • Self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Gas masks
  • Partial face coverings like N95 respirators or surgical masks

*Pro-Tip: Always ensure that equipment is fit-tested prior to use and change filters frequently.

Skin and Body Protection

safety clothes ppe

PPE intended to prevent physical damage to different parts of your body. This category is broken down into areas of protection that include:

  • Head Protection – Helmets and hard hats
  • Body Protection – Safety vests and/or suits
  • Hands Protection – Gloves and guards
  • Foot Protection – Knee pads, boots, and gaiters
  • Fall Protection – Safety harnesses and lanyards

*Pro-Tip: Always repair or replace equipment that has suffered damage or contamination.

Hearing Protection

hearing ppe

PPE providing protection during tasks that can cause hearing problems or loss. Some types of PPE in this category include:

  • Earmuffs
  • Ear plugs
  • Ear caps

*Pro-Tip: Never use equipment that is unclean, in disrepair, or fits poorly.

Hopefully this list helps you break down the basics of PPE so you can confidently address the needs of your own job or facility. Ideally, this improved understanding will make it easier to use your hazard assessment to make improvements to all aspects of your safety culture. A simple checklist could really help you too.

If you’d like more info on Personal Protection Equipment, check out the PPE section of our previous Every Technician’s Toolbox blog article. If your safety knowledge already includes everything mentioned above, and you know how to use it, you’re probably ready for a career in the manufacturing industry. Send your resume to retoolrecruiting@pmgservices.com and we’ll get you started!

PMG’s Monthly Manufacturing Calendar Highlight

PMG supports the American manufacturing industry, directly and indirectly, in any way we can. That’s part of why we take advocacy for manufacturing, the skilled trades, and technical education so seriously. It’s also why we think you should too! But we know that life is busier, and noisier, than ever these days. We want to make it easy for you to advocate and grow by sharing something coming up on the calendar each month. With that in mind, we’d like to remind you that CTE Month® starts February 1, 2022!

What is CTE Month?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) directly prepares students (youth AND adult) for high-wage, high-demand careers. CTE Month is a campaign that occurs every February to raise awareness regarding the importance of career and technical education. This effort also celebrates the value of CTE, as well as the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the USA. You may recall a Superbowl commercial for Oklahoma Career Tech that does just that!

How can you celebrate CTE Month?

There are many ways you can participate throughout the month of February.

  • If you’re an instructor or product of a good CTE program, consider hosting a school visit and inviting community members to learn about it firsthand.
  • Do you work for a business that benefits from the skilled trades? You don’t have to wait for a one pager like this from a local shop teacher. Instead, coordinate a local job fair or work with programs to help highlight alumni who you’ve successfully hired.
  • Are you a beneficiary of CTE yourself? Then tell your story. For too long, other people have been telling it for you and the Skills Gap is real because people are getting your story wrong. Engage your local policymakers and industry leaders personally and speak your truth!
  • If that all still sounds like too much work, there’s an option for you too! Whether you’re involved directly through a business or educational institution, or not, you can advocate for CTE without saying a word. Just download the CTE Month Zoom Background (works with your virtual meeting platform of choice) and make sure you turn on your camera the next time you log on!

What’s next?

We hope this motivates you to get involved with advocating for manufacturing. If it does, we also hope it helps you find out just how easy that can be. Why? Because October, and MFG Day, will be here before you know it!

Got other events you think we should know about? Send them to our Writing Team and we’ll be happy to highlight them in the months to come!

Josh Erickson

Josh Erickson

Public Relations & Engagement Specialist

Day one seems like a distant memory,
A leaf swept away by the icy breeze,
Distant—
—yet familiar.

A year ago, I was a leaf
Shaking in the cold air, pleading for the sun to rise;
Sweeping me up in its warm embrace.

Oh, the sweet wind carried me here.
Where pastel pink tulips dance under the breeze—
Blue jays warm the sun.

A year later I stay,
Within the comfort of my new home surrounded by light.
Each ray filled with adventure.

New leaves sprouting nearby,
Each whispering their own lovely tales
as I dance along the breeze
Eager to start again.

Inspired by the author’s first year working at PMG.

Jazmin Crittenden

Jazmin Crittenden

Technical Solutions Administrator

Manufacturing really is the culmination of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). So, let’s go back to the classroom and talking science. More specifically, the science of static electricity.

What is an atom?

model of an atom

To understand static electricity, we need to understand atoms. Atoms are in everything around you; all physical items (except energy) are made of atoms. Particles make up atoms, the three largest particles being protons, electrons, and neutrons. Atoms also have a central core called a nucleus. We won’t go into all the details but if you’re interested, you can find out more information about atoms here.

Protons have a positive charge; electrons have a negative charge; and as you could have guessed, neutrons have a neutral charge. This means that if all things are made of atoms, then all things have charges. Normally, these charges (the electrons and protons) which are on the surface of an object, balance each other out. This is why most objects are electrically neutral. However, an imbalance in the charges occurs when two surfaces rub against each other, causing friction. This friction energizes electrons causing them to leave the surface of one object and move to the surface of another. This causes in imbalance of negative of positive charges on the objects’ surfaces. This imbalance in charges is Static Electricity.

It’s important to note that not all materials, objects, or surfaces have similar electrons. For instance, water and metal are conductors. Conductors have loosely bound electrons, and these tend to transfer more easily. On the other hand, plastic, rubber, and glass are insulators. The electrons of insulators are more tightly bound, meaning they don’t jump to other surfaces easily.

The Balloon & Your Head Trick

Let’s look at an example to understand this a little bit more. We’ll use a well-known ploy used to produce static electricity – a balloon rubbed on your head.

A balloon is made of rubber and rubber is an insulator. Therefore, the balloon has tightly bound electrons. However, human hair is not an insulator; it’s a conductor. This means the electrons from hair easily move. Rubbing a balloon on your head excites the electrons in your hair and they transfer from your hair to the surface of the rubber balloon. However, once the electrons land on the surface of the balloon, they do not move across the surface. This creates an imbalance in charges on the balloon’s surface. The balloon now has more electrons than before and becomes negatively charged (remember electrons have a negative charge). On the other hand, the hair has fewer electrons than before and is therefore more positively charged than before. This imbalance between positive and negative on the two surfaces (balloon and head) creates static electricity.

Static Electricity in Manufacturing

static electricity in manufacturing

While the balloon example is a fun example of static electricity, it’s not always fun. Static electricity can also be dangerous. In fact, manufacturing facilities of all types are concerned with static electricity. Manufacturers work with a variety of materials – some conductors, and some insulators. Due to this, and the relative ease of electron transfer between surfaces, electrostatic discharge (ESD – the “shock” you feel when static electricity occurs between your fingertip and another surface) is of utmost consideration. ESD can ignite flammable mixtures, damage electronic components, attract contaminants to cleanroom environments, and cause products to stick together. To combat this, manufacturers take additional steps to ensure the safety of their workers and the quality of their product. This includes ESD clothing, antistatic wrist straps and ground bracelets, ESD mats, and even zero charge cleaners and hand lotions.

Interested in learning more? You can find more How It’s Made articles on PMG’s website.

Kim Mooney

Kim Mooney

Technical Manager & Coach