LAPORTE | Hundreds of students Friday and members from the general public learned about the wide variety of products made in LaPorte County as well as the job opportunities that exist here.
Made in LaPorte County at the Civic Auditorium on Friday was organized by the economic development corporations from Michigan City and LaPorte.
One of the messages from company representatives was that education is the key to moving up the ladder, but a high school diploma or GED will still do for jobs on the production floor.
"The more education you have would be the better," said James Morton, a design engineer with Vanair. The company has about 100 employees near Michigan City that makes air compressors, generators and other mobile power units.
In all, 51 vendors were spread out on the spacious first floor, often turnng heads with their products on display and willingly fielding questions about their operations.
"This is nice just to see what's what," said La Porte resident Alan Niedziejko, a recently retired manufacturing worker.
Bonemodels in Kingsford Heights, with a workforce of about 45, makes models of dentures, dental implants along with models for hips, shoulders and other body replacement parts.
Mike Pokuta, a salesman with the company, said the models sold worldwide are shown to patients by dentists and surgeons to educate them about the parts and procedures they are about to go through.
Models are also sold to companies that actually make the replacement parts to help in the manufacturing of the actual components.
"We replicate the actual products that go into the body," Pokuta said.
Monosol has more than 300 employees with production facilities including LaPorte and Portage.
The company makes water soluable film that contain products such as dish washer and laundry soap with their latest a film holding oatmeal that dissolves when dropped into hot water.
"There's a whole bunch of uses for our films," said Matt Scearce, a manager with Monosol, which also has locations in Merrillvile and the United Kingdom.
He spoke to students about the career paths they must follow to qualify for jobs at Monosol, ranging from the production to being a chemist or some type of executive.
Aero Metals in LaPorte makes castings used to make parts for industries in areas such as aerospace, agriculture and construction.
"We're everywhere," said John Schultz, a representative with the firm that employs between 300 to 400.
He said education will take a person as high with the company as they want to go, whether it be on the production floor, accounting or engineering.
Bob Schaefer, organizer of the event, said turnout was the highest ever for the event.
This was the sixth year for Made in La Porte County, which rotates each year in LaPorte and Michigan City.
He believed an improving economy was a factor in the higher attendance from vendors and the public.
"As you can see the place is packed," Schaefer said.