Editors Note: While this post documents events in the past, the experience and impact of company's efforts to connect with the educational system oftentimes extends far beyond dates of specific activities. ACTE celebrates the continued efforts of companies such as Rhinestahl to build and nurture such partnerships.
Part II: Celebrating Manufacturing Month in the Greater Cincinnati Region
Raising the awareness of students and educators of Advanced Manufacturing Careers and Career Technical Education
Written by: Vickie McMullen
Greater Cincinnati regional companies partner to expand the opportunities for raising the awareness of career opportunities, in Advanced Manufacturing.
The Greater Cincinnati region (Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana) have collectively through their business consortium, Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnerships (AMIP) decided to look for ways to increase the awareness of students, educators and the community at large on the growing need to meet their workforce challenges today and in the future. Those efforts include expanding the National Association of Manufacturing (NAM) Manufacturing Day activities beyond the annual one day event in October to multiple days in the month of October and throughout the year. These visits by regional schools to Advanced Manufacturing companies offer a firsthand look for students and other visitors the opportunity to see what Advanced Manufacturing is really like, learn of the various career opportunities available from Machinists to Engineers, Programmers to Quality Specialists. With the expansion of Manufacturing Day events and the introduction of a new Teacher Externship program, successful results have been achieved for Rhinestahl AMG and other AMIP companies, in their effort to change the perception of Advanced Manufacturing and to educate students about challenging job opportunities and substantial career pathways.
Important successes, for Rhinestahl AMG at the 2019 Manufacturing Day events this year. New partner schools and the increased participation of girls this year!
Rhinestahl AMG added three new partner schools and saw an increase in the number of girls participating in the events. In fact, one school had more girls than boys in their group. That was exciting and an important milestone for Rhinestahl AMG!
As an active advocate for Career Technical Education in the state of Ohio, the company invited state congressional representatives to attend the Manufacturing Day events, Senator Bill Blessing, Ohio Senate and State Representative Catherine Ingram, Ohio House of Representatives, each attended one of the Manufacturing Day events, went on tours with the students to get a first-hand view of how this type of experience is invaluable in expanding the knowledge and awareness of Advanced Manufacturing careers in the state of Ohio.
A total of 115 students visited Rhinestahl AMG during their fall Manufacturing Day events. Rhinestahl AMG will have other schools visiting during the first quarter of 2020, including middle school students from regional schools. According to AMIP the greater Cincinnati area led the region with 5000 students and 67 companies involved in the 2019 Manufacturing Day events.
Student Feedback on their Experience – What they Learned
The feedback from the students that attended the Rhinestahl AMG Manufacturing Day visits provided evidence that the expanded Manufacturing Days events are having an
impact on students. The responses from the student surveys indicated the following results:
- A greater awareness of the variety of career pathways and jobs in Advanced Manufacturing in their community
- More assured that manufacturing jobs are high tech, safe and clean
- Greater awareness that manufacturing jobs offer good pay and a respectable career
- Greater exposure for students during Manufacturing Day events has taught them how much technology plays a great role in Advanced Manufacturing.
- Exposure to the 21st Century skills needed in Advanced Manufacturing career and learning that those skills are just as important as the technical skills that are needed.
- Students are more motivated to pursue a career in Advanced Manufacturing
Another Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership initiative in collaboration with Butler Tech, the regional Career Technical School was the development of a Teacher Externship Program. This past summer with a grant from Duke Energy, teachers from regional schools, were able to spend one week at companies including Rhinestahl AMG. Each participating company selected two teachers for this effort. The teachers toured the production facility and met with Rhinestahl AMG team members from each one of the company’s departments from Engineering to the Manufacturing floor. The [math] teachers were charged with going back to their schools and creating a project from their experience which will educate their students on Advanced Manufacturing careers. Our teachers stated, “it was a great experience” and “we had no idea of the great opportunities” in Advanced Manufacturing and look forward to sharing this information with our students”.
Vickie McMullen is the Director, Education Partnerships at Rhinestahl Corporation where her role is to educate teachers, parents, and students on the high-paying job opportunities available in Advanced Manufacturing. Rhinestahl is part of the Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partners (AMIP), a coalition of 240 employers, educators, and community organizations working together through Partners for a Competitive Workforce to help meet current and future Advanced Manufacturing needs.
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