High School Manufacturing Initiatives: Inspiring Innovation

As labor shortages persist in the U.S. manufacturing sector, companies and states are increasingly turning to high schools to cultivate and prepare future talent. For instance, the Community College of Denver’s Advanced Manufacturing Center has initiated outreach efforts targeting students as young as ninth grade. Through these high school manufacturing initiatives, the center offers facility tours to introduce students to the possibilities of a manufacturing career.

Chris Luchs, the dean of instruction for business, social, and behavioral science pathways at the school, explains that these tours aim to captivate students with hands-on demonstrations and activities, showcasing the excitement and potential of the industry. Moreover, students have the opportunity to participate in workshops and training sessions, like welding workshops, to explore their interests before committing to formal enrollment.

The center also collaborates closely with local manufacturing companies to provide internships and job opportunities for students. By facilitating connections between employers and students, the program boasts an impressive 85% employment rate for graduates within three months of completing their studies.

In the Midwest, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has launched the Michigan Talent Action Team to attract young students to the manufacturing sector. This initiative brings together educational institutions and manufacturers to develop training programs and hands-on learning experiences for students of all ages. MEDC has also allocated significant funding to support semiconductor education and training programs at various higher education institutions across the state.

Industry events play a crucial role in bridging the gap between manufacturers, educators, and students. Informa Markets recently organized an event at its IME West conference, which brought together over 360 high school students from Southern California to explore career opportunities in manufacturing and engineering. Partnering with The Diversity Org, Informa Markets aimed to expose underrepresented and minority students to the diverse range of careers available in the industry. Through panel discussions, show floor tours, and networking opportunities, students gained valuable insights and practical advice for pursuing careers in manufacturing.

By engaging students at an early stage, these initiatives aim to instill a passion for manufacturing and engineering, paving the way for a skilled and motivated workforce. For manufacturers, investing in these educational efforts not only helps address current labor shortages but also ensures a pipeline of talent equipped with the knowledge and skills needed for future advancements in the industry.