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Camp introduces students to manufacturing (Photo gallery)






Northeast Ohio manufacturers are facing a shortage of skilled workers, and industry advocates want to ensure that potential candidates are considering the option even before high school.

One of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s annual Manufacturing Camps ended its weeklong run Friday at Max S. Hayes High School. Brown and CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon visited Friday afternoon, with the senator talking about history, size and importance of the industry in Ohio. (See photo gallery, above.) He and the CEO also presented awards and certificiates.

The camps, open to fourth- through eighth-graders, are held throughout the state. About 50 Cleveland-area students participated in activities that included field trips to Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream's Ohio City Kitchen and Oatey Manufacturing, a plumbing-products supplier.

The students also visited the Great Lakes Science Center and its NASA Glenn Visitor Center and worked with engineering faculty and students at Cleveland State University to build towers made out of straws. Representatives of the ArcelorMittal steel company came to Max Hayes and worked with the kids to modify toys for use by children with special needs.

Manufacturing and engineering is among the career-technical pathways at Max Hayes. Manufacturing Works, which provides support for the industry in Northeast Ohio, works closely with the school and uses office space there.

Due to a shortage of skilled workers, the region has thousands of unfilled manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing Works wants to send a message that modern manufacturing is clean and technology-driven, and the jobs pay well. The group sees the camp as a good place to start.

“The demand in manufacturing is great,” said Jessica Westropp, senior manager, youth workforce development. “We want as many students as possible to be exposed to it so they can make more informed career decisions.”

Yovanni, a CMSD eighth-grader, was impressed by the metal-cutting machines at Oatey. He has not yet focused on specific careers but is open to the possibility of a future in manufacturing.

“It looks cool,” he said. “I think I would like it.”

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