Manufacturers working together – and with schools – to build a promising future
December 21, 2007
Note: This is the second and final part of Nevada Appeal Publisher John DiMambro’s look at the importance of manufacturing to Carson City.
Many people may not realize that the Nevada Appeal is a manufacturer. We produce a brand new product every day. But as publisher of the newspaper, I do not think I encourage my 14-year-old daughter nearly enough to consider pursuing the newspaper industry as a profession. I am not alone. I do not believe manufacturers in general promote themselves in the form of educating our own sons and daughters. As a result, people for the most part have serious misconceptions of what manufacturing really is today.
The world of manufacturing has job opportunities that range from marketing to sales, and technology to administration. Still, manufacturing has not become a household name for a respectable career. In fact, among us manufacturers, it may not even be a household name in our own households.
Manufacturers, and the people who lead the charge of manufacturing (myself included) must first begin the education process in our own homes before we can legitimately expect others to preach the word.
Even our local schools have taken part in advancing the top-of-mind awareness of manufacturing to higher levels than the ground floor. And they should be applauded for their effort. What Carson High School and Western Nevada College have recently done in partnership with the Carson Area Manufacturers Forum is unprecedented to Carson City. It also is the first time I have seen a group of manufacturers work together to collectively build a network of common vision. Hell, it’s the first time I’ve seen manufacturers even share a cup of coffee with each other, anywhere!
Getting back to our local schools, not only have representatives of Carson High School and Western Nevada College actively participated in the recent meetings of the Carson Area Manufacturers Forum, they also have invested time and thought to promote the vitality of manufacturing to students.
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In the fall, Western Nevada College hosted a technology preparation in-service day for 70 teachers, counselors, and administrators of high schools within the service area of the college, which covers seven counties (Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing and Storey). At that session, the impressive assembly worked on articulation agreements that are created from the alignment of similar high school and college courses related to manufacturing, so that high school students may transcript grades to the college upon receiving a grade of B or better.
That workshop session was followed by a technology preparation college day, which attracted more than 260 high school students from the aforementioned seven counties, and allowed the students to talk with three local manufacturers about the benefits of careers in their respective industries.
As part of the fulfillment qualifications required for a high school student to transcript credits toward their college degree, the technology division of Western Nevada College offers curricula in machine tooling, engineering drawing (i.e., graphing), welding, automotive, construction, business, graphic communications, geographic information science (GIS), among others. In fact, the technology division chair for Western Nevada College, Ed Martin, personally visited five local manufacturers to gain greater knowledge of their world so that he may be of even greater influence and service to our students. Now that’s the way it should be done.
Local manufacturers are on to something, and I hope they don’t stop out of frustration or indifference. They have assumed their own lead, and they are leading with action. Their positive and purposeful behavior will speak with much greater authority than any words spoken. They are meeting regularly. They are communicating as a team of common cause and effect. They have attained the buy-in and participation of the local schools. They are seeking partnerships with local organizations for future career events. Don’t stop. The continuation and progressive development of those efforts will unquestionably fuse solidarity of what manufacturing is now, and grow the economic foundation of our city and state immeasurably while other cities and states waver and fall at the feet of industrial decline and decay.
• John DiMambro is publisher of the Appeal. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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