Students toured the local General Motors and Owens Corning facilities.
The manufacturing and logistics industry is one that is both well-established and continuously growing here in Wyandotte County. There are several career pathways for the industry: manufacturing production process development; production; maintenance, installation, and repair; environmental health and safety; logistics and inventory control, and quality assurance. Turner High School students had the opportunity to be exposed to career opportunities in these pathways with a visit to the General Motors plant and Owens Corning through a "Making it in the Dotte" tour with Kansas Manufacturing Solutions and the Wyandotte Economic Development Council.
At both facilities, students heard from a range of current employees and learned about aspects of employment such as salary, education requirements, and benefits. Then, the students were taken on a guided tour of the plant to see the various career opportunities in action.
The manufacturing industry has changed in many ways over the years, and the plant employees emphasized to students the need for modern technology and machinery skills. Mark Farrar, Turner High School Principal, joined students on the tour and shared that "It drove home the emphasis we must continue to put on technology as we prepare our students for post-secondary success."
In addition to visiting the two manufacturing plants, the group visited the FAME Lab at KCKCC's Technical Education Center. FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) is a paid training and work experience program that prepares individuals for careers in the manufacturing industry and offers, on average, 1,800 hours of on-the-ground experience with 85% of graduates moving onto direct employment. Being able to expose current high school students to these types of opportunities is important, especially their junior and senior years as they are determining their post-graduation plans.
"I believe that exposure to real world manufacturing and technology is critical to the success of our students. This tour allowed them a peak into the future as they learned about world class manufacturing opportunities right here in our community. For most students, this type of exposure gives them the boost they need and allows them to connect the dots between high school curriculum and the job market," said Mr. Farrar.
Monica Brede, a Senior Director with the Wyandotte County Economic Development Council shared similar sentiments, "It is important to for our youth to know about opportunities available to them in their own backyard. Wyandotte County is home to many thriving companies, with great cultures and tremendous income potential. Our industries have opportunities for students graduating and going directly into the workforce as well as students that want to go on for a higher education. With over 9,000 open positions in Wyandotte County, we need our future workforce to thrive and grow in their home town and be Dotte proud."
USD 202 is grateful to the Wyandotte Economic Development Council for this opportunity and looks forward to future student tours of other local industries.