Student participation in Elkhart County Manufacturing Days grew immensely, jumping from just over 600 in 2016 to nearly 3,000 this year.
Each October for Manufacturing Days, HEA partners with local businesses, schools, caterers, and sponsorship organizations to coordinate the learning event. In 2018, over one hundred partners worked together to provide this learning experience for students. During the tours of local manufacturing facilities, students see multiple career pathways and learn about educational opportunities and advancement within the company. During a catered lunch, high school counselors tell the 8th graders about classes, the career center and dual credits with Ivy Tech that are available to support these career pathways.
The goal of the program is to raise student and parent awareness about local career pathways, and the educational tracks that help get them there.
As part of the program, area middle school counselors and teachers introduce students to career pathways through a series of lessons. Students research companies and prepare questions to ask during tours. In the weeks following the tours, students learn about career planning and craft an educational plan for high school.
Here’s how students responded in a post-tour survey:
- 87% “I now know more about what it takes to be a successful employee.”
- 89% “I learned about the types of skills needed to work in a manufacturing company.”
- 40% “I am more interested in jobs in manufacturing because of the Manufacturing Day activities.”