Think summer camp is only about polar bear swimming and making ugly jewelry out of macaroni noodles? Think again my friend. Straight out of the suburbs of Chicago, Gadget Camp is a hands on camp that empowers young girls by encouraging careers in the world of manufacturing. Although there are nearly 14 million unemployed Americans today, many consider a career in manufacturing unappealing, and those who don’t are rarely suited for the work.
“The perception is that there are no jobs in manufacturing,” said Susan H. Palisano, director of education and training at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, a nonprofit group in East Hartford that promotes manufacturing employment and has run summer programs for middle-school students for the last three years. In actuality, it’s quite the opposite. Even though the image of a career in manufacturing has been cheapened because of outsourcing in recent years, many U.S. manufactuers are still going strong, and in need of competent workers.
As featured in The New York Times,Gadget Camp receives sponsorship from foundations affiliated with the Fabricators and Manufacuturs association. Of the 16 campers, most of them received some type of funding that aided their participation in this year’s camp. The foundations that have donated to the summer camps hope that by exposing youngsters to manufacturing now, they might see it as a viable career option later.
The key to sparking interest in the field is to show how fun a career in manufacturing can be. Not only do the girls learn how to operate power tools, but they put their new found skills to practical use. Using just a few materials like: foam board, metal, wood, and fiberglass, they were able to create jewelry boxes, a candy dispenser, and a cat feeder among other things. In a society where people are becoming more and more dependent on cheap and poorly made products, I for one am happy to see a program that teaches our youth to get back down to the nuts and bolts of a Do-It-Yourself culture.
Source: nytimes.com. Image source: nytimes.com
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