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Reaching Tomorrows Manufacturers

I recently read an article in Industry Week about getting kids interested in manufacturing careers (the article can be read here). I serve as an adviser for a local trade school that teaches manufacturing to high school age kids and adults alike. We get together about once or twice a quarter to discuss trends in the industry and how the school can keep that competitive advantage. A number of different representatives from different types of manufacturing companies serve on this council and I think it is great for many reasons.

However, it is my belief that companies should be doing more, as this article suggests. The company I work for, Glover Precision, does a Pinewood Derby Day where we get together with local Cub Scouts to assist in helping with their annual pinewood derby competition. We help the kids develop plans for their pinewood derby cars to make sure that they all have a good race. I, as well as others in our staff, have worked with the Cub Scouts in the past on pinewood derbies and cringe to see a boy never finish a race because their cars' wheels fall off or because of some other faulty design. It is no fun for anyone and creates a bad experience. So we have the boys come to our facility and make suggestions to them and their guardians on what makes a stable and fast car. Every boy that comes has had a great experience in their races.

This is just one example and at times, I feel that we could do more than just one or two events per year for the younger aged youth. The manufacturing industry is facing a major skills gap and few schools are stepping up to the challenge. Why? It is because schools do not know where to begin. This is why it is important and vital to US Manufacturing that companies from all manufacturing types step in and help develop educational and hands-on programs to spark the interest in youngsters again from an early age.

Modern educators focus on the scholastic aspect of the education system. There are few examples where elementary and middle schools focus on manufacturing skills. Manufacturers today must be the ones that teach the real life skills and importance of manufacturing to the local economy and the joys that come with building something from nothing.

I challenge all those who are involved with US Manufacturing to look at their local areas and see what they themselves and their companies can do for US Manufacturing and reach out to the rising generation. When we become involved with something bigger than ourselves is where we really make a difference.

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