Teachers around Vanderburgh County spent their day in summer school, part of a bootcamp meant to bring attention to manufacturing opportunities across the Tri-State.
These educators are taking a hands-on approach as they prepare their students for the new economy.
“These are not the same manufacturing jobs that you had growing up. These are high tech manufacturing jobs. They’re becoming more and more high tech,” explained Jim Heck, Executive Director of WorkOne Southwest.
The factories of the 21st century are far from grand-dad turning screws on the line.
“More and more automation,” Heck added. “So they need higher skilled employees as they come through.”
The high-school-to-college pipeline is expanding past secondary education, and there is opportunity for young students and the local economy.
“The wages are one of the highest of any sector. The average wage for a manufacturer in this region is about $80,000 dollars. There is a large need in our region to fill those manufacturing jobs,” Heck stated.
Getting that message to students starts with their teachers, and there are ways to apply that lesson even outside the traditional science and math classrooms.
“I would love to share with my students how the things they love to do–that they might think of as a hobby–could actually be a career,” hoped art teacher Kristy Bryant.
Students joining today’s bootcamp however were once but the learners, and now are the masters. They used their own backgrounds in technology to share their knowledge with these educators, and for the benefit of everyone.
“I feel like if you’re not able to provide for everybody in the community, you’re not able to provide for yourself in the community,” asserted robotics student Matthais Horn. “Everybody has their own part in the community. Everybody brings something different to the community. The community is made by everybody bringing said things to the table.”
No matter the direction these kids take in life, the aim is to provide forward momentum for the students–and to keep the Tri-State moving.
The bootcamp helps with the recertification process that teachers have to go through every few years, but the lessons here will certainly last a lifetime.