By Judith Crocker, Director of Education & Training Judith Crocker, Director of Education & Training, MAGNET Recently, a select group of students from Beaumont High School in Cleveland, Ohio had the opportunity to visit a couple local manufacturing companies to learn more about the field of advanced manufacturing and the role that science, engineering, and math play in manufacturing in Northeast Ohio. "My female students got to hear from professional women about their experiences in engineering," says Beaumont Schools teacher Lauren Brandon. "They gained invaluable insights into the challenges and rewards of an engineering career." Manufacturing and engineering careers are growing and in demand now more than ever. It is important for educators and students to learn what today’s manufacturing is really all about and the opportunities in fields such as engineering that are available in this growing industry. Many regional manufacturers are willing to open their doors to students to provide tours to students. If students don’t have the opportunity to visit manufacturers, there are additional ways for them to learn. MAGNET, through the career awareness program, offered in partnership with WVIZ and the Northern Ohio Technology Association, reaches as many as 300 students each program. Programs are
MAGNET’s Product Development Manager, Aaron Marshall, has been instructing a graduate level class that runs this semester at Kent State University, located in Kent, Ohio. The goal of the class is to teach students how to come up with ways to make products more sustainable, while using a program called Sustainable Minds. "Sustainable Minds is a software that allows you to create a baseline of your products," Marshall says. "It helps the students analyze how sustainable products are." This Life Cycle Design II class allows the students to think critically in order for them to come up with unique ideas to improve, redesign and modify components in order to make a product achieve certain standards. "I’m teaching them how to think differently and how to evaluate a product from the sustainable design standpoint," says Marshall. Their final project of the semester will require the students to come up with corporate sustainability goals and then redesign a product to achieve those goals. Find out more about the MAGNET Product Design & Development group at www.magnetpdd.org
In Brig. Gen. Robert E. Mansfield Jr.’s blog, Exciting American Youth About Manufacturing: Maybe it’s time to think about a ‘Future Manufacturers of America’ organization from March 31, 2011 he states the obvious point that "In order to excite the youth of America about manufacturing in the modern age, we need to raise the awareness of the youth." No one argues this and everyone in the industry sees it as a need. However, his next point and one that I have continued to make myself is, that despite the many good programs across the country that attempt to address the awareness and image issues as well as the curricular ones, including MAGNET’s own Dream It. Do It. Program, the problem remains that the programs that exist are not well coordinated. What we end up with and what we have today are pockets of excellence and hope. Programs that reach a few, when we need them to reach many, duplicative services and overlap and at the same time gaps and areas that go unaddressed. We need local, state and national organizations that are currently competing for financial resources and employer buy-in, in a time where both are limited to collaborate and
March 31, 2011, Washington, DC—The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, has released a comprehensive blueprint for education reform designed to develop the 21st-century talent critical to U.S. manufacturing and global competitiveness. The Roadmap to Education Reform for Manufacturing lays out six principles for innovative reform, including moving to competency-based education; establishing and expanding industry-education partnerships; infusing technology in education; creating excitement for manufacturing careers; applying manufacturing principles like "lean" to reduce education costs; and, expanding successful youth development programs. Read the complete press release from The Manufacturing Institute. Download the Roadmap for Reform document.
This weekend’s article on NPR by Chris Arnold, As Manufacturing Demand Grows, So Do Jobs, reiterates what I mentioned in my February post, that employment in the manufacturing sector is picking up and will continue to rise. For example, according to the Labor Department, manufacturing created 33,000 jobs last month (See: Employment Situation Summary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Labor, March 4, 2011). More importantly, the NPR article mentioned the story of a 60-year-old man who had been out of work for two years, but chose to use his time wisely and re-tool his skills and get the type of training he needed to work in today’s manufacturing facilities. He went to a community college for a year and was recently hired as a computer-controlled-machine (CNC) operator. This success story can be seen across the country, including in Northeast Ohio, but we need more of them. We are fortunate that our region’s community colleges offer many short-term certification programs in the area of advanced manufacturing. In addition, there is some funding to assist with tuition which is crucial when one is unemployed. The industry certainly needs to attract young workers, but it also benefits from workers with experience