As summer rolls on, so do different summer camps across the Mahoning Valley.
Among those are a handful with manufacturing- and STEM-based elements, in which the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition is helping.
“We have had identified several summer camps across Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties that attract a variety of students with the common goal of opening their eyes to manufacturing, and we’re thrilled to support them,” said Allison Engstrom, MVMC project manager.
Students have been touring local manufacturing facilities, listening to career ambassadors talk about manufacturing careers and take part in hands-on activities.
Starting the conversation early
So far this season, MVMC has supported a Trumbull County Technical Center camp financially and Trumbull County Educational Service Center camp by organizing manufacturing tours and hands-on activities.
MVMC associate member BRITE hosted students from the Liberty Learning Center and TCESC summer camp.
“We had a variety of grade levels and they all enjoyed our lessons about batteries along with a tour of BRITE’s lab space,” said Joe Paloski, operations manager of BRITE.
During their visit, students “enthusiastically” learned about the company’s Wet Lab, Io Lab, microgrid and battery testers, Paloski said.
“They loved connecting the battery circuit to the motor to make it run. The kids asked great questions about whether we meet Elon Musk to cell phone charging and building RC cars. Their engagement made the lesson even more interactive and fun,” Paloski said.
Students from the Engineering Camp at TCTC were joined by City Machine Technologies’ Claudia Kovach.
She spoke to children and led them in an activity – trying to put a wooden skewer through a blown-up balloon without it popping.
“There are plenty of great careers that just require a little bit of schooling or a certification,” Kovach said.
“For so long, teachers and schools always say ‘go to college,’ and here at CMT, we are just letting the kids know there are opportunities in manufacturing,” she added.
Looking to the future
It’s one of MVMC’s goals for students to leave summer camps with an understanding of what manufacturing is, Engstrom said.
“We want to show the variety of STEM-based career opportunities in the industry right here in the Mahoning Valley,” she said.
The manufacturing industry “has and will always be important,” Paloski said.
“It’s great for children to learn about it so they can appreciate the things they have even more, potentially even seeking a future career in manufacturing.”
These summer camps are another way to introduce youths to “grow in areas they already love or learn about an area of STEM that they’ve always been interested in,” said Shelby Russell, TCTC welding instructor.
There’s still time to help with three more summer camps:
- Let’s Build Summer Construction Camp for girls, with MVMC staff and member manufacturers volunteering on June 28.
- YWCA Y-Girls Full STEAM Ahead summer camp for girls that begins July 5.
- CAMP JCC, with staff and members also volunteering on Aug. 3.
If members are interested in volunteering for upcoming summer camps, email Engstrom at Allison@mahoningvalleymfg.com.