Summertime Provides Unique Ways to Bring Manufacturing to Students

School is out for summer and that means young students have three months ahead of them to spend at camps, day programs and other exciting activities. One community college in Elgin, Illinois, is taking this summer as an opportunity to launch the inaugural season of Manufacturing Camp, a three-day all day summer camp to learn skills like computer-aided design, welding and sheet metal cutting. The Chicago Tribune ran a story on this unique program and how it allows students to explore the manufacturing field during their summer break:

Students will be introduced to the inner workings of manufacturing, [and will have the opportunity to] meet with industry professionals to learn more about the various jobs and career paths, and tour a local manufacturing facility. 

"Manufacturing Camp is designed to introduce students to the world of manufacturing through a hands-on project made in real shop facilities," said Anne Hauca, dean of workforce development and continuing education. "With the support of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association's foundation, ECC faculty and Kids' College have partnered to create a program where students will design a product, test the prototype and create a finished model."

Programs like Manufacturing Camp capitalize on the recent trend of Generation Z’ers exploring their career options through trade programs. Back in March, the Wall Street Journal featured Pennsylvania honors student Raelee Nicholson and her journey into a two-year technical program. Raelee told the Journal that her goal is to become a diesel mechanic after graduation. The article comments on the signs of a shift in the stigmas surrounding trade programs chosen over four-year degrees. Reporter Douglas Belkin writes:

These forces are leading to a course correction now rippling through U.S. high schools, which are beginning to re-emphasize vocational education, rebranded as career and technical education. Last year, 49 states enacted 241 policies to support it, according to the Association for Career and Technical Education, an advocacy group.

Raelee, along with countless other high-schoolers and young adults, dream of successful careers in technical industries. Opportunities like summer camps are just one way to allow young students to test the waters of the field and grow more invested in the skills learned in these programs. For more information on how your manufacturing company could better market toward young adults, their parents and their teachers, check out the Center for Metalforming Careers (C4MC).  Powered by the PMA Educational Foundation, C4MC is an industry resource that provides in-depth information about careers in metalforming and instructive tools to help manufacturers enter this demographic. If you are interested in learning more about C4MC, visit the website at


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