Industry Spotlight: Volusia Manufacturers Association

Volusia Manufacters AssociationWe asked President/CEO Jayne Fifer to tell us a little bit about how the Volusia Manufacturers Association can be a valuable resource for students and alumni seeking internships or full-time positions in manufacturing.

VMA was founded in 1980 by manufacturers for manufacturers. We provide information, education and networking opportunities to help manufacturers grow and succeed. We are made up of companies that range in size from one employee to over 500. There are companies with CEO’s, presidents, plant managers, CFO’s and HR managers and companies whose owners do it all. We have members willing to share their expertise in manufacturing operations, purchasing, international trade, human resources, marketing and more.

Tell us what is exciting in the U.S. manufacturing industry at this time.

The kind of media coverage manufacturing has received over the past 20 years or so has convinced us that America no longer makes anything.  But, here is the really good news -the United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 21 percent of global manufactured products. China is second at 15 percent and Japan is third at 12 percent. This is according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Nearly 12 million Americans are employed in manufacturing, and that number is growing. Many manufacturers that did move overseas are bringing their companies back home due to increased manufacturing and logistics costs and patent piracy.  In addition, Americans want to buy American made products.

What kinds of opportunities are typical within the manufacturing industry for new college graduates?

The opportunities in manufacturing are limitless.  For example:


  • CNC Machinists & Programmers
  • Tool & Die Makers & Apprentices
  • Die Setters
  • Maintenance Technicians
  • Quality Inspectors
  • Press Operators


  • Design
  • Electrical
  • Estimation
  • Lean
  • Manufacturing
  • Mechanical
  • Process
  • Quality Assurance
  • Research & Development


  • Shipping & Receiving
  • Material
  • Handling
  • Production Control
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Project Management
  • Trade Compliance
  • Purchasing
  • Accounting
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer Care
  • Information Technology
  • Human Resources

What advice can you give for students interested in a career in manufacturing?

Manufacturers are looking for people with critical thinking skills; systems thinkers -people that can design and implement failure proof systems; work in teams; and communicate effectively.  These skills are hard to find now, so develop these;  it will make the difference to achieving career success or failure.

How can students and alumni learn more about manufacturers in Volusia county?

There are over 400 manufacturers in Volusia and Flagler counties. The Volusia Manufacturers Association (VMA) offers many opportunities to learn about the area manufacturers.

Students, alumni and faculty are all welcome to  attend the Manufacturers Showcase on October 3 from 3:00-7:30 PM at the Ocean Center; to attend monthly plant tours – the next one is at Raydon Corp on October 17th; go to the Advanced Technology College on Williamson and LPGA and view the Manufacturing Career Display Boards – the only place in Volusia County to see what over 25 companies produce and the careers they have available (more on the way everyday); volunteer like the students in RAER, who are designing and judging the 1st VMA Robotics Competition at the Manufacturers Showcase; or get involved with the VMA  marketing competition.

Go to www.VMAonline and learn about the manufacturing community and search for specific companies.

The Volusia Manufacturers Association (VMA)  is the ONLY trade association for manufacturers in Volusia and Flagler counties and the surrounding areas!

Manufacturers are very interested in providing internships, externships and co-ops for ERAU students.  We want you to get to know us.

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