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Kids learn nuts and bolts of manufacturing


Josiah Miranda, 10, was delighted to get his hands on a motor that he tinkered with and helped his fellow campers take apart on the second day of a manufacturing summer camp at Max S. Hayes High School.


The weeklong camp, presented by CMSD, Senator Sherrod Brown and WIRE-Net, is a chance for Cleveland-area children to discover career paths in manufacturing through hands-on activities and interactions with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals.

This is the first manufacturing camp held in Cleveland since Brown started them in 2013. The Cleveland camp, one of 18 taking place in Ohio this summer, is an initiative of the city's chapter of My Brother’s Keeper, which works to connect male students of color with community leaders through mentoring relationships and educational events. 


To put together the local camp, Brown’s office looked to CMSD's Max S. Hayes, which focuses on manufacturing and other technical careers, and WIRE-Net, a non-profit economic development organization that has a partnership with Max S. Hayes.

Jonathan Rivera, the youth workforce development coordinator at WIRE-Net called on engineers from ArcelorMittal, an international steel manufacturing corporation that operates a 950-acre mill in Cleveland, to work with the campers for a portion of the week.
The engineers spent part of Tuesday morning explaining the technical sides of two concepts: electromagnetism and motors. For each lesson, there was an accompanying activity to bring the scientific ideas to life.


Bobby Withrow is a senior engineer at ArcelorMittel’s steel mill. Withrow led a workshop where campers used hand tools disassemble a motor, and he explained how the activity relates to the work he does every day.


“Make sure you always keep track of your parts and pieces,” he told the campers. “At work, you don’t want to accidentally drop one of your bolts down 80 feet below.”


For some campers, like Josiah, the activities expand upon existing STEM knowledge. While working on the motor, Josiah told Withrow that he once took apart a smaller motor but has never seen one this big.


“At our mill, this motor is actually small,” Bobby said, explaining that the campers were working with a 1-horsepower motor, compared to ones at the mill that make up to 15,000 horsepower.


Josiah’s eyes widened behind his glasses as he reacted, “Dang!”


Activities are designed to also hold the interest of campers who don’t have much of a STEM background or aren’t sold on the idea of manufacturing as a career path.


“The idea is to inspire some curiosity, to get comfortable with taking something apart and asking questions about how it works,” said Summer Paris, corporate responsibility and communications manager for ArcelorMittal.


The classroom component is just one part of the camp, which also has health and wellness components. The campers will spend two afternoons doing exercise and dance activities with members of the Cleveland Cavaliers Scream Team. The final day will include a pop-up recess event with Recess Cleveland.


On Wednesday, campers will visit Mitchell’s Ice Cream shop and production facility in Ohio City. Putting a sugary twist on manufacturing, the instructors and Mitchell’s employees will guide students through the detailed process of making ice cream.


Rivera assured the campers that they will get to eat some ice cream, too. After all, this is summer camp.