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State and local officials are stressing the importance of manufacturing for Nebraska this month and highlighting businesses across the state.

October is Manufacturing Month, and Gov. Pete Ricketts visited Beatrice Thursday morning to tour a factory and visit with area students.

Southern and Beatrice high school students joined Ricketts at Precise Fabrication for a tour and to learn more about what manufacturers mean to the state.

“I’m sure you all know that agriculture is our state’s number one industry,” Ricketts said. “But manufacturing is number two. It accounts for over $13 billion of our state’s economy. Back during 2008-09 during the great recession we actually lost about 10 percent of our manufacturing jobs here in the state.

“But over the last decade we’ve been building those back up, and now manufacturing accounts for about one in every 10 jobs in the state of Nebraska. It’s over 100,000 jobs. We’ve got almost 2,000 businesses creating 100,000 jobs here in our state.”

Precise Fabrication owner Randy Kinney, who purchased the business last year, opened the factory for tours where students got to see welders and equipment in action, getting a glimpse of some of the potential job opportunities in manufacturing.

Precise Fabrication currently operates out of a 41,000-square-foot facility on the north side of the Gage County Industrial Park.

The business was started 18 years ago.

The metal fabrication company supplies companies with components for their own products, like mowers.

In December of 2001, Precise Fabrication purchased its first Mazak laser to produce parts requested by local manufacturers. During the early years, the customer base was mostly lawn and turf care companies in the area. Precise Fabrication now has a diversified customer base throughout the Midwest in a variety of industries, while adding new equipment and technology.

Ricketts pointed out that manufacturing has changed significantly over the years, and is a much different industry.

“Manufacturing is not like it used to be decades ago,” he said. “Now it’s all high tech, automated, using robots and all of that. It’s a lot of great and cool careers. What we want to do is make sure we’re highlighting that and saying thank you to our manufacturers for how much they contribute to our economy, but also young people like you understand about the great careers that are available in manufacturing.

“We want to make sure young people like you understand about the careers we have and you have the ability to explore that when you’re in school.”

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