Production Machining

NOV 2018

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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Communicating the Message of Education These examples of educational opportunities in manufacturing demonstrate that e are making progress in addressing skills gap issues. CHRIS FELIX Senior Editor cfelix@productionmachining.com Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. — Scott Adams S ince I returned to the manufacturing arena 13 years ago, I've been hearing continual conversations about the lack of skilled labor and the need to develop programs that will increase interest in the •eld. I believe the message is getting out there, but is it having an e•ect? Here's what I've seen in only one month's time. At IMTS 2018, I witnessed hundreds of high school students wandering the aisles and checking out the technology in the booths. ƒey seemed genuinely inter- ested in and excited about the equipment and processes they observed. ƒeir presence was driven mostly by the show's Smartforce Student Summit, which hosted 24,469 registered visitors (7,000+ more than IMTS 2016). Greg Jones, vice president of Smartforce Development for AMT - ƒe Association For Manufacturing Technology, says, "ƒe national conversation around STEM education has had a positive in—u- ence on our ability to attract more schools to the Student Summit." IMTS also featured the Miles for Manufacturing 5K Run/ Walk, which included 486 runners and raised $27,310 to go toward programs that prepare students for careers in manufacturing technology. ƒe money will be used to acquire STEM Bionics4Education kits that will be donated to 14 schools, including STEM middle schools in the Chicago Public School system. Funds will also support FIRST Illinois robotics teams, FIRST Indiana robotics teams, and the Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program. Immediately upon my return home to Cincinnati from IMTS, I headed to a local high school that was hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand re-opening of its precision machine shop. ƒis event was signi•cant because the growing program is representative of many more like it in schools throughout the country. Colerain High School's program is operated by Butler Tech, which provides career training in dozens of programs for high school students throughout southwest Ohio. ƒe program is also supported by local machine shops that provide equip- ment, curriculum advice and mentorship. In return, these shops are often rewarded with access to some of the most quali•ed entry-level shop personnel as students graduate. ƒe following week I left for vacation out to beautiful Bend, Oregon. While the purpose of the trip was to get away from work and clear my head after a very busy summer and IMTS season, I was pleasantly surprised when our manufacturing world snuck back in at an unexpected time. On day three of the trip, we arrived early to the Bend Oktoberfest so we could get good seats for the wiener dog races, but the bleachers were already packed. A local high school's robotics team was providing a demonstration of one of its award-winning robots and answering questions about how the program has helped its students in project management, technical problem solving and team building skills. ƒe curiosity of the young children in the front row was remarkable. On Oct. 5, we celebrated Mfg Day, the annual event during which thousands of manufacturers around the country open their doors to students, parents and educators to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Mfg Day events can take many forms, including open houses, facility tours and job fairs, to demonstrate the positive aspects of a career in manufacturing. It's been a great month for drawing more attention to manufacturing, but the examples I've provided are only a small sample of the many ongoing programs that are in place in the U.S. and around the world to promote careers in the •eld. More and more schools are developing programs such as those at the high schools mentioned in this column. Companies are realizing the bene•ts of having their own apprenticeship programs that teach potential employees their methodology, whether within that organization or elsewhere. I see the results of these e•orts every day as we continue to chip away at the skills gap. While we're slowly overcoming the old image of "dirty manufacturing jobs," the potential employee numbers are still too thin. We need to continue to press forward with these e•orts until we've created the better "problem" of having too many quali•ed job candi- dates from which to choose. MY TU R N 8 PRODUCTION MCHINING :: NOVEMBER 2018

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