Send your kids to manufacturing camp, says Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs

Young people should learn the joy of manufacturing, say NBT, The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA), and National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).


A landmark partnership is pioneering the effort to inspire tomorrow's inventors, engineers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs, and addresses a dire need to fill skilled labor positions in this country. Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs (NBT), The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. (FMA), and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), have joined forces to develop a national program that builds on NBT's successful summer manufacturing camp blueprint.



In 2010, 18 NACCE member community colleges throughout the United States will offer NBT summer manufacturing camps targeting youth at the critical level of secondary education, exposing them to math, science, engineering and entrepreneurship principles, while having the opportunity to see the technology being used in the industry.

"Our new partnership sets in place a model curriculum to enable NACCE schools to conduct a series of summer manufacturing career exploration experiences for young people," said Gerald Shankel, president & CEO of the FMA. "With beginner through advanced programs, students can return for a new camp experience each summer, being challenged more in each subsequent program. In addition to learning about manufacturing technologies, participants also will learn how products become businesses and how small businesses are run. This should make them very desirable as employees once they complete their schooling. Through this collaboration we have the potential to operate camps in hundreds of NACCE member colleges across the U.S. in the future."

"NBT's summer manufacturing camp program is a perfect fit for our organization and our member colleges, as we blend the skill required in manufacturing with the knowledge needed to become a successful entrepreneur. We are thrilled to help our members expand their summer curricula and reach the youth of their communities with this new offering," said Heather Van Sickle, executive director of NACCE. "These camps offer young people a fun manufacturing career exploration experience and provide a solid foundation if they decide to choose a career in one of the trades. They will be inspired to follow in the footsteps of some of the most important people in our country's history - the entrepreneurs."

This year, camps will be offered at:

College of the Sequoias, Visalia, Calif.
Yuba College, Marysville, Calif.
Rock Valley College, Rockford, Ill.
Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, Mass.
Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, Mass.
Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, Maine
Pine Technical College, Pine City, Minn.
Minnesota State Community & Tech College, Fergus Falls, Minn.
Lake Superior College, Duluth, Minn.
Hennepin Technical College, Minneapolis, Minn.
Southeast Community College, Lincoln, Neb.
Lorain County Community College, Elyria, Ohio
York Technical College, Rock Hill, S.C.
Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, Wis.
Moraine Park Technical College, West Bend, Wis.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Green Bay, Wis.
Montgomery County Community College, Blue Bell, Penn.
Itawamba Community College, Tupelo, Miss.

Camp participants use technology to create a product from start to finish providing them practical manufacturing experience in 3D design, computer numerical control (CNC) programming, welding, machining, and more, while learning product creation, problem solving, entrepreneurship and team building. Visits to area manufacturers provide an up-close look at products being made as well as career advice and inspiration from the entrepreneurs who run the companies.

"The purpose of the manufacturing camps is to provide a positive, hands-on experience so young people will consider manufacturing as a career option," said Shankel. "Both NACCE and NBT are making an investment in tomorrow's workforce because there is an ever-increasing demand for highly-skilled professionals who can design, program and operate technology."

"These camps expose youth to vocational and technical trades that they would rarely encounter in public education systems," said actor and producer John Ratzenberger, an NBT founder who leads the group's efforts to promote manufacturing as a viable career choice. "Many young people today have no role models when it comes to fixing things themselves or taking pride in building something useful, and they dismiss the idea of considering a career in one of the manual arts such as manufacturing, electrical, plumbing, carpentry or welding. These are some of the career areas that offer the greatest opportunity for people who want to become entrepreneurs. With more than 70 percent of all the jobs created in the United States coming from small businesses - many of them started and run by inspired entrepreneurs, this is a segment of our economy that deserves all the support and inspiration we can provide."

A recent national poll sponsored by NBT showed a majority of teens - 52% - have little or no interest in a manufacturing career and another 21% are ambivalent. When asked why, a whopping 61% said they seek a professional career, far surpassing other issues such as pay (17%), career growth (15%t) and physical work (14%).

"It's absolutely critical for this mindset to change because when America recovers from our economic downtown, there will be a dire need for skilled manpower in the trades," added Ratzenberger. "Numerous surveys conducted by manufacturing organizations predict a labor shortage if we don't inform the nation's youth about the available opportunities and enlist them to fill the sophisticated, high-tech jobs available in areas such as robotics and laser technologies."

Offer support at

Interested youth may learn how to sign up for a camp in their area by visiting

Also read:- FMA: STEM initiatives prepare students for post-secondary opportunities ;

- Skilled labor needed? Use an intern program for automation, controls, instrumentation .
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering ,



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