Indian Capital Technology Center in Muskogee was named a winner of a 2008 manufacturing camp grant awarded jointly by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Foundation and the Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs Foundation.
The grants are given to not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions that offer overnight or day camp experiences that introduce young people ages 12 to 16 to careers in manufacturing and engineering.
Indian Capital Technology Center, which received a $5,000 award, is one of 26 recipients nationally announced in March at the Metal Matters 2008 executive summit, a three-day conference sponsored by FMA and The Tube & Pipe Association, International. The winners were named in a press conference by John Ratzenberger, host of the Travel Channel’s “John Ratzenberger’s Made in America,” former Cheers star and co-founder of NBTF, a charitable organization dedicated to introducing young people to the pleasures of tinkering, and Terrence Egan, director of the FMA Foundation, an educational, research and charitable organization that promotes metal forming and fabricating technology in manufacturing.
“I can think of no enterprise more worthy than one devoted to inspiring the next generation of engineers, builders and manufacturers,” said Ratzenberger. “I am proud to be a partner with FMA and know that with each child who attends one of our camps or pursues a career in manufacturing, we are rebuilding America’s foundation one tinkerer at a time.”
A demographic shift in the U.S. workforce caused by retiring baby boomers is occurring, and the manufacturing sector is already feeling the impact. There is an ever- increasing demand for highly skilled professionals who can design, program and operate technology, according to Ratzenberger.
“The purpose of the manufacturing camp grants is to provide a positive, hands-on experience so young people will consider manufacturing as a career option,” said Egan. “We’re making an investment in the workforce of tomorrow. This is critical to the economy of the cities where the camps occur and to the nation in general.”
The camps target youth at the critical level of secondary education, exposing them to math, science and engineering principles, and giving them opportunities to see the technology being used in industry and the high level of skills that will be required from the workforce.
“These camps provide youth with the exposure to vocational and technical trades that no longer exist in all public education systems,” added Egan. “Inspiring youth to consider these trades will have a positive effect on graduation rates, increase the chance for them to earn a living wage, and create a more qualified workforce and community development in impoverished areas.”