It’s not uncommon for District 214 students to visit local businesses and gain a better understanding of careers and skills needed to thrive.
But this week, District 214 STEM and manufacturing students gave area companies a flavor of what they know and can do at an event designed to encourage more manufacturers to consider local high school students for internships, apprenticeships and jobs.
The event, hosted at Rolling Meadows High School by the Golden Corridor Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, or GCAMP, brought together 35 area manufacturers, to see the district’s manufacturing program in action.
Attendees toured the school’s manufacturing lab and learned about the real-world projects students design and build, such as robots and high-mileage vehicles. Rolling Meadows students also discussed the career-focused courses students take in District 214 through the advanced manufacturing and STEM career pathways.
“Students are often given the chance to go out and visit area manufacturers through district programming, but we felt it was important for those manufacturers to see how technically advanced the area high school programs have become.,” said Kathleen Burley, GCAMP Executive Director.
Township High School District 211 also presented its manufacturing program to the group and explained what skills students gain through its curriculum as well as the importance and value of student internships and apprenticeship programs.
Manufacturing faces a shortage of skilled workers. The industry will need 20,000 production workers each year through 2027, according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Education Foundation, and nearly all jobs in the manufacturing field will require some postsecondary education.
“GCAMP works toward creating a sustainable manufacturing workforce throughout the northwest suburbs. The organization works with workforce boards, manufacturing associations, secondary schools and community colleges to support dual credit courses, industry credentials and real world experiences that encourage students to pursue a STEM manufacturing career path,” said Burley.
Rolling Meadows senior Jeremy Arroyo plans to pursue a career in electrical engineering, and credited his courses and teachers at Rolling Meadows for helping him discover his future.
He is now in his second year of an internship with Northrop Grumman, and as part of the experience, he is designing a drone that has an IR sensor that can be sent out in a disaster area and notify first responders of any people it has located.
“The teachers here have just been great, and have provided resources to help me progress through my projects,” he said. “I think the teamwork aspect, the problem-solving aspects and just the mindset I have learned and they have instilled in me has been the most beneficial.”