The Youngstown area is busy with both new and old industry. These industries work together to form our economy, but it is the job of educators and the community to bridge the gap between our children and industry. The Summer Manufacturing Institute, a collaborative effort between OH WOW!, The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, Senator Sherrod Brown’s Office, Youngstown City Schools, and the YWCA of Youngstown, did just that; it bridged the gap between students and future careers in manufacturing.
The Summer Manufacturing Institute is a pilot program this year that introduced children, from grades four through six, to the wonders and possibilities of careers in manufacturing. While most programs of its kind focus on children in grades six and above, the collaborators believed it would be more beneficial to focus on children a little bit younger.
“We are the only camp that focuses on grades four through six,” Audra Carlson, Education Manager of Oh Wow! says. She went on to explain, “Research suggests that by sixth grade, [students] have their opinions formed.”
When asked, many of the participants already had some idea about what they wanted to do when they grew up. While some of the younger ones had big dreams of being football players or the president, the older participants knew exactly what they wanted to do when they grew up.
Through out the week, the students took field trips to different companies in the area to learn different aspects of manufacturing. While they were at Taylor Winfield Technologies Inc., they got to see the robots that the company makes to help the manufacturing field. Many of the children took these experiences and related them to future careers they could have.
Sadaa, eight years old, was one of the youngest to attend the Summer Manufacturing Institute, but one of the most determined participants. She avidly told those around her that she wanted to be an electrical engineer after making an LED Light and a Pizza Box Circuit.
The highlight of the week was the additive manufacturing day. The participants took a field trip to NAMII and the McDonough Museum. While at the museum, they made 3D keychains, but at NAMII they got to see how 3D printing affects the way we think about everything.
“At NAMII, we saw how the people who worked there use[d] 3D printers to make bones for people who lost them,” Scott Cross, a nine year old who attended the program and who expressed a large amount of interest in biology said.
On Friday, July 26th, each of the students was excited to share what they made and what they learned during the week with their parents and the partners of the program. That morning, they were also presented with certificates from Senator Sherrod Brown.
“The kids really enjoyed talking with the engineers at Taylor-Winfield Technologies and working as teams to build their Lego houses at VEC,” Carlson said. “It was great to see them working together and asking serious questions about what they were seeing.” (More below sideshow).
Another large part of the program was “PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT.” Working together in groups, the participants learned the manufacturing process of continuous improvement. In the PLAN stage, the students identified the problem and decided on a measurable outcome. In the DO stage, they put the plan into effect. The CHECK group evaluated the results and the process. Finally, the ACT group decided if they needed any improvements to the process. Not only did the students apply this process to the way they approached situations at camp, but also they learned how to use “PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT” in their daily lives.
OH WOW! and the rest of the collaborators would like to thank the sponsors and the partners that helped the event be as successful as it was. They would also like to encourage the community to think about volunteering at OH WOW! to help with field trips and education programming. For more information on volunteering, visit the OH WOW! website.
Applied Systems and Technology Transfer
Classi-co Foods/Pizza Joes
John J. McDonough Museum of Art, YSU
National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII)
Taylor-Winfield Technologies, Inc.
The Butler Institute of American Art
Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI)