[photo courtesy GADgET]
The New York Times profiles GADgET (Girls Adventuring in Design Engineering & Technology),
a summer camp workshop for girls held near Chicago that aims to bring more women into manufacturing careers in the United States.
Although the economy is wobbling and nearly 14 million people are looking for work, some employers are still having a hard time finding skilled workers for certain positions. Manufacturers in particular complain that few applicants can operate computerized equipment, read blueprints and solve production problems. And with the baby boomers starting to retire, these and other employers worry there will be few young workers willing or able to replace them.
Gadget Camp, sponsored in part by a foundation affiliated with the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, which provided financing to nine other camps this summer, is intended to help over the long haul by exposing girls to an occupation they might previously have considered unappealing, if they considered it at all.
By the last day of camp, Nautika had told her parents that manufacturing was "cool." Fashioning a lamp shade out of a thin piece of cardboard, she mused, "I have two good careers ahead of me." Since the fragile recovery began, manufacturing is one of the few sectors that have added jobs. But the image of manufacturing as an occupation of the future has been tarnished by the exodus of factory jobs to foreign sites and the use of machinery to replace workers. Younger people, especially, see more alluring opportunities in digital technology, finance or health care.
Here's an earlier article that appeared at triblocal.com.
GADgET developed from a national manufacturing summer camp program created and funded by Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs, the foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.