Manufacturing and factory jobs often don’t appeal to high school students: careers are perceived to be confining, boring, and repetitive; without room for creative expression. However, advanced manufacturing has transformed processes and operations; newer technologies are employed that require preparation, training and specific skill sets. Today’s manufacturing careers demand workers who can think strategically and creatively to provide solutions.
Over 200 High School students at SME’s HOUSTEX manufacturing trade show gained awareness of today’s advanced manufacturing. Students competed in challenges produced by Ten80 Education centered around unmanned-aerial vehicles (UAV) -- commonly known as drones. This challenge was designed to teach students about mobility technology, which presented them with a little-known fact about modern manufacturing: products today are often designed and manufactured by multiple teams in multiple locations.
Manufacturing jobs require different skills to create different outcomes. After completing these challenges students learn that manufacturing is social, innovative; communication is paramount when integrating systems within manufacturing applications. Another component to these challenges focused on designing and building a propeller system attached to a hub. Students learned how both additive and reductive manufacturing work while gaining hands-on experience and understanding on how each process plays a role within manufacturing.
An important aspect of Student Summits is the opportunity for participants to access industry representatives through a guided interactive exhibit floor tours while engaging with industry representatives through the SME Education Foundation Instagram account. Students discovered and discussed different manufacturing career pathways with 13 student-friendly exhibitors like ROHM Products of America, Haimer USA, and Pacific Press Technologies. Their biggest takeaway: manufacturing jobs offer career options that allow creativity, innovation and imagination.
SME Education Foundation Student Summits seek to introduce high school students to the manufacturing industry and to create awareness of opportunity through showcasing a wide range of career pathways. Student Summits provide a high-level overview of advanced design and manufacturing technologies, materials, processes and applications. Students gain hands-on experience during Summits where they compete in challenges designed to test their knowledge and skills like communication and teamwork.