Mind the Gap: Making kids aware of manufacturing jobs

by | Apr 19, 2017


By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

One of the things that always struck me about manufacturers is they generally don’t realize how cool their jobs really are. And I get why. You’ve been doing this your whole life, it pays the bills and it has its disappointments, headaches and setbacks.

But manufacturing made the modern world we live in possible. And the stuff you see as routine, through anyone else’s eyes is really, really cool.

Don’t believe me? Ask a bunch of middle school kids in Pennsylvania.

“What’s So Cool About Manufacturing” is an annual contest begun in 2013 in the Lehigh Valley area north of Philadelphia. In it, teams of middle school students are given video equipment and training, then matched with local manufacturing companies. The students create profiles that spotlight the company, its employees and its impact on the region and nation. The upside is exposure at an early age to diverse careers available in manufacturing and busting the myth that manufacturing is dirty, unskilled and a dead end.

The program proved so popular that it spread to 8 other regions in Pennsylvania. And it has even been tried in other states.

Click here to see an excellent recap of this year’s submissions from IMPO magazine.

Check out some of the winners and see the creativity these kids brought to the subject. You can get a sense of how cool they find the manufacturers and the awe that all this cool stuff is happening right around the corner from them.

A simple, effective, grassroots idea that helps to address the skills gap, shows off how important manufacturing is to our everyday lives and is easily replicated? Sounds like a win-win-win-win!

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