Selling Manufacturing Careers to Kids

This recent article from the Chicago Tribune highlights a growing trend; selling manufacturing careers to kids. In this story, it tells of 10 students visiting 7 factories in Evanston. This was part of the national Manufacturing day celebration of manufacturing but it was a small group taking its first steps.

Several recent events here in the Rockford area demonstrate that we have a good start on getting kids interested in manufacturing.  First, the 2012 Surgeons of Steel  class of 38 students were taken to the IMTS show in Chicago.  They are the second such class following the successful 2011 Surgeons that visited several local manufacturing companies, the Spring University of Illinois Engineering Open House and the Sandvik Coromont training center.

This past Friday, students from East, Auburn,Jefferson, Guilford, Winnebago and Roosevelt visited 15 area factories (2 or 3 per school).  A total of about 150 students received a good introduction to our local manufacturers and to see first hand what careers are available.

Last week was an interesting meeting with students of Eisenhower Middle School, Mayor Morrissey, Chairman Christiansen, Mayor Hedvell from Lidkoping, Sweden, RPS officials and local leaders.  The program featured student demonstrations of SeaPerch: an underwater remotely operated vehicle; FIRST Lego League robotics program and discussions with the new 2012 Surgeons of Steel students.

RPS 205 officials also updated the group on the Five Readiness Rocks program and the status of development of the Academies.  Work is progressing to develop curriculum for the Engineering, Manufacturing, Industrial Trades & Technology (EMITT) Academy.  The pathways in this Academy are: Engineering, Manufacturing Operations, Transportation Technology, Skilled Trades and Architectural Design.  Local industry volunteers are assisting in the development of the pathways as well as supporting the teachers at the classroom level. Plans include having board approvals and printed guides by December 1, 2012.

These steps and many others serve to demonstrate that our region is making more inroads than ever before to get our kids aware and interested in careers in manufacturing.