Manufacturing is one of Ohio’s most important industries but too often students don’t realize all the opportunities available to them.
When students hear the word “manufacturing” they think about dirty, dusty old jobs, and the outdated term “rust belt” that demeans our workers and devalues their work.
But we are finally burying the term “rust belt”. With Intel, the CHIPS Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, we are putting in place an industrial policy where the technology of the future will be developed in America and made in Ohio.
From electric vehicles to solar panels to the next generation of jet fuel, we are creating jobs and opportunities up and down the supply chain.
That is what these camps are all about – opening kids up to these opportunities and new ways to look at the world. We want students to see the full spectrum of possibilities in manufacturing from design to marketing to logistics and so much more.
Eleven years ago, we reached out to local partners and companies to start our first manufacturing camps. We focused on 4th through 8th graders, because it’s often the first time in kids’ lives where they are starting to think about the future.
Campers tour plants and participate in hands-on projects. We’ve had 5th and 6th graders in Geauga County wire and build their own portable speakers, electro-magnets, and motors. One of the campers, a girl named Charlotte, said before the camp, she thought manufacturing “didn’t have this much potential in it.” But after the camp, she told me “it’s opened me up to new things that I can do. I can make anything that I want to.”
Last year we had 24 camps in 17 counties across the state – but we’re thinking even bigger. We are already in the process of planning this summer’s camps, and we hope to see them in more communities each year.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.