The following article from the Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative (SVMI) appeared in the Valley Vision 21st Century Workforce News – October 2020:
SVMI Members and Partners Give Virtual Tours on National Manufacturing Day
As part of National Manufacturing Day on October 2, 2020, there were 474 college and high school students, who participated in 14 virtual presentations delivered by nine Sacramento manufacturing professionals. The 17 instructors who brought their classes on the remote tours came from 10 different school districts, spread from Elk Grove to Shasta and Truckee, as well as Sierra College and American River College. The Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative (SVMI – https://www.sacvalleymfg.org/), SME Sacramento Valley (https://sacvalleysme.org/) and Advanced Manufacturing North Region (https://edu2mfg.org/) for California Community Colleges collaborated to bring students, educators and employers together virtually.
Each year, manufacturers across the country host National Manufacturing Day (https://creatorswanted.org/) events to attract students to highly paid, in-demand manufacturing careers and to increase awareness of manufacturers’ impact on the economy, explained Kevin McGrew, Director, Quality Assurance, Siemens Mobility and President, SVMI.
“We miss having students visit our factory on special occasions like National Manufacturing Day,” said McGrew. “That just couldn’t happen this year with the pandemic. Siemens Mobility jumped at the chance to have some of our people describe their careers in these virtual presentations. We were impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and participation.”
Manufacturing representatives see these tours as one way to build a more direct career path from schools to local employment to fill the skills gap. Tours were offered by AMW Design, Garner Products, Inc., Garrettson Design, Harris & Bruno International, Kratos, Siemens Mobility, Synbyo Systems Integrators and Tri Tool, among others. Speakers included manufacturing engineers, CAD/CAM design engineers, CNC operators, welders, electro mechanical technicians, quality assurance/quality control representatives and industrial maintenance mechanics. The virtual tours are posted on the Edu2Mfg website blog post Watch Virtual Manufacturing Tours (https://blog.edu2mfg.org/watch-virtual-manufacturing-tours/).
Steve Reiff, Mechanical Engineer, Kratos, felt that the students were incredibly thoughtful and had excellent questions. “I’m so happy the students enjoyed the virtual field trip,” said Reiff. “It’s crucial that we encourage, support and guide them to their goals, as the world needs more engineers immediately.”
Glen Garrettson, Garrettson Design, made a presentation on industrial machine maintenance to Christian Kinsey’s metal shop class at Colfax High School. “It was refreshing to see the level of attention and interest in what lies ahead for these students as they approach graduation,” said Garrettson. “The reception was sincere, and the interest in the education required to perform in the real world was eye-opening. There is a sincere interest in trades, including industrial maintenance. The tours brought to light the breadth of opportunities that exist for all young adults, inclusive or exclusive of a post-graduate degree. This exposure is paramount to building our economy and a successful diverse workforce.”
Comments from Cordova High School students included:
“It was nice to hear about the different types of engineering and what they do.”
“This engineering field trip was an opportunity for me to start planning for my own future.”
“He perfectly summed up the skills and ethics needed to be successful in this engineering field.”
“I would want to get an engineering internship there and maybe even work there eventually.”
“Engineers have a big impact in the world because every industry needs different types of engineers.”
“The field trip was genuinely exciting because I learned about the vast opportunities in mechanical engineering.”
Instructors reported that the virtual tours were valuable and helped students connect what they are learning to careers. Jonathan Schwartz, Engineering teacher, Colfax High School, indicated that Alan Ware, AMW Design, made a great presentation about being a CAD/CAM Design Engineer on Manufacturing Day. “The speaker inspired my students and really opened their eyes to what a manufacturing engineer does,” said Schwartz. “Most importantly, many of my students saw how exciting the career could be.”
At Shasta High School, teacher Brian Grigsby thought the virtual tours offered by Daniel Carr, Plant Manager, Harris & Bruno and Justin Stofan, CNC Operator, Garner Products were great opportunities for students. “The presentation on CNC machining was really good,” said Grigsby. “My kids got something out of it and I felt the presenters did a great job.”
Mike Waltz, Engineering teacher at West Park High School in Roseville, participated in three presentations. “The presenter was outstanding,” said Waltz. “You did a great job helping us find a perfect speaker for our subject area and it matched our schedule perfectly.”
Jason Martins, Industrial Technology, Franklin High School in Elk Grove, explained that the tour tied into a unit he had just done on resume building. “I had discussed the importance of finding ways to be more involved in activities and clubs outside of school,” said Martins. “Mike Bell, Principle, Synbyo Systems Integrators, described how he got involved in the Formula SAE and how it led to other opportunities. This helped demonstrate the importance being involved outside the classroom. Also, when he shared his personal story of how getting into Engineering wasn’t a straight path, it demonstrated to my students that school and career aren’t always done in four years, and that is okay.”
Virtual tours have proven to be impactful way to connect employers with students, according to Jeff Briggs, Regional Director, Advanced Manufacturing North Region, (https://edu2mfg.org/), California Community Colleges, housed at Sierra College. “Students benefit from seeing work environments and are inspired when they hear directly from those working in the industry,” said Briggs. “We posted the virtual tours on the Edu2Mfg website so more students can see manufacturing career opportunities in Northern California.”
SVMI is also hosting Manufacturing Day for Manufacturers on October 29. Learn more at https://www.sacvalleymfg.org/.