Manufacturing the Future: Expanding Student Interest in Manufacturing Technology Careers
Columbia Basin College will develop a manufacturing technology program that bridges students from high school to community college technical programs. Demand for skilled manufacturing technicians is outpacing the supply and it is projected that up to two million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled in the coming decade. The bridge program will feature a summer Manufacturing Technology Academy program for high school students and a Manufacturing Technology Professional Development Workshop for secondary school teachers and high school advisors. A Tool Kit for teaching hands-on manufacturing technology lessons in the high school classroom will be developed. Access to hands-on learning and skill development opportunities will boost student interest in pursuing manufacturing careers by combatting negative stereotypes surrounding the industry's image, as well as leading to increased self-efficacy in STEM subjects, particularly for female and underrepresented students.
Columbia Basin College will actively partner with the Tri Tech Skills Center, a local high school that specializes in career technical education. These institutions will jointly pilot an Introduction to Manufacturing course with high school students. During the Summer Academy, students will undertake multiple experiential learning opportunities, including the design and manufacturing of a take-home product, career exploration presentations, field trips, and internships with industry partners. The opportunity to earn both high school and college credit upon successful completion of the academy will incentivize students and provide a cost-effective means for students to transition into the Manufacturing Technology program at the community college. This opportunity will stimulate the diverse high school population in the Columbia Basin College service area to pursue post-secondary Manufacturing Technology education and subsequently pursue technical careers in manufacturing technology. What is learned will inform effective practices in both bridging students into post-secondary education and effective practices engaging rural students in higher education.