Elkhart middle school students are exploring career opportunities here in their hometown. Students from North Side, West Side, and Pierre Moran middle schools spent the first week of October traveling to a different manufacturing business in order to gain exposure to local career paths and more career awareness.
Founded by the Economic Development Corporation and Horizon Education Alliance, Manufacturing Days explores local manufacturing businesses such as Conn Selmer, Lippert Components, and Mor-Ryde.
Students each toured at least two facilities, spoke with professionals about their journeys within their career and aspects of their job, and learned about the importance of the manufacturing industry within our local and nationwide economy.
“We went to Adorn [Hardware], Patrick [Industries], and Mor-Ryde. We saw companies that work with steel and metal to make trailers and RV’s, and others that work with wood for doors,” said North Side eighth graders, Reagan Snyder and Byron Harris.
An inside look into the factory gave students a new perspective on what goes on behind the doors of local businesses.
“I never thought too deep into the making of a door. I’d look at it and think ‘oh, it’s a door’, but once you see how much time they put into doors and what you have to do and all that it has to go through, it’s really interesting. It’s a lot that goes into it. It makes you look at things differently,” said Snyder.
Now armed with a better understanding of the manufacturing field, students are able to understand and share insight into future possibilities.
“It’s good information to know because let’s say someone asks me about what they could do in the future, I could be like “Well, I went on a field trip when I was in eighth grade’ and tell them what I know,” said Snyder.
This exposure also serves to educate kids about other career opportunities. Much of the norm surrounding education lies in the idea of college, while many don’t realize the benefits of going straight into the workforce.
“For the people who don’t want to go to college, it gives them another option,” said Harris.
Opportunities such as these are changing students’ views on the average career path, helping them to both understand the importance of choosing a career that is relevant to their talents and interests, and realize the options that they have close-to-home. This promotion of career-awareness will play an important role in the rest of each student’s life.