National Manufacturing Day: STLCC, Boeing and MO Chamber Inspire High School Students to “Dream It. Do It.”

By on November 1, 2018
National Manufacturing Day: Dream It. Do It.

National Manufacturing Day buzz swirled through St. Louis this October as STLCC Workforce Solutions Group, Boeing St. Louis and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry teamed up to engage high school students in fast-track pathways toward successful manufacturing careers through the Dream It. Do It.” program.

“Dream It. Do It.” was established in 2005 as a national grassroots effort aimed at raising the perception of manufacturing jobs and recruiting the next generation manufacturing workforce. The program is presented by the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of National Association of Manufacturers.

For their National Manufacturing Day experience, University City High School and Riverview Gardens High School participants spent the day learning about aerospace manufacturing. Students started at STLCC’s Center for Workforce Innovation (CWI) with an overview of manufacturing and some detailed information about Boeing’s Pre-employment Training Program offered at the center.

Middle-skill manufacturing jobs—those that require higher education, but not a four year degree—are in high demand, and with young people wanting to get into the workforce sooner, plenty of opportunities for growth exist.

Students learned firsthand about the art of manufacturing, building and making things. “Although it’s getting better, some people still believe that manufacturing is dirty, dangerous work for the unskilled. In truth though, it takes concentration, attention to detail and teamwork. It’s an art form that requires skill,” Becky Epps, Manager at the Center for Workforce Innovation STLCC said. “The best way to highlight today’s manufacturing truths is to demonstrate them in experiential ways.”

During the National Manufacturing Day, students enjoyed hands-on experience in Sheet Metal Assembly & Riveting and Composites Technology at the CWI training lab. They worked with the same composite materials and assembly techniques used by Boeing to construct the 777x wing. Later, a tour of Boeing’s Composite Center of Excellence concluded the day, where students saw how professional craftspeople layout and construct the wing. “From start to finish, the students were engaged and enthusiastic about the experience,” Brian Crouse, vice president of Education at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

Successful training completion and job placement provide opportunity for continued personal growth in well-paying careers. Many lucrative middle-skill options exist that allow students to quickly complete a program and get into the workforce quickly, earning money and supporting employer productivity. Programs that encourage youth to engage in hands-on manufacturing work exploration foster curiosity and drive to consider middle-skill jobs as a viable, fulfilling option.

“Students regularly see retail and service sector jobs in their communities without seeing the magic that occurs in world-class operations like Boeing,” Crouse said. “Today changed that for students at University City and Riverview Gardens school districts.”

Riverview Gardens students touring Boeing’s Composite Center of Excellence.

Riverview Gardens students touring Boeing’s Composite Center of Excellence.

University City Students laying up carbon fiber plies in the Composites Lab at STLCC’s Center for Workforce Innovation.

University City Students laying up carbon fiber plies in the Composites Lab at STLCC’s Center for Workforce Innovation.

Riverview Gardens High School students.

Riverview Gardens High School students.

University City High School students.

University City High School students.

 

 

 

About Lysa Young-Bates

Lysa Young-Bates is Marketing Communications Manager of St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group, which delivers non-credit continuing education opportunities, corporate training and community services to the St. Louis region.

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