Every summer for 10 years now, our office partners with local companies and organizations to host manufacturing camps for fourth- through eighth-graders across Ohio. It’s an opportunity to introduce our kids to all the opportunities available to them in our state.
When kids hear the word “manufacturing,” too often they think about dirty, dusty old jobs, and the outdated, offensive term “rust belt.” It demeans our workers and devalues their work.
We are burying that term in Ohio – from Intel jobs coming to Columbus, to the aerospace industry in Dayton and GE Aviation in Cincinnati, to the largest solar manufacturer in the country in Toledo, to space nuclear technology at NASA Glenn in Cleveland.
These are the kinds of opportunities Ohio students will have, and we want to open these doors for them. Too often, our students don’t realize all the opportunities available to them in the manufacturing industry. That’s why, a decade ago, we came up with the idea to host these camps.
For the last couple of years, many of the camps have changed because of the pandemic – but all over the state, leaders got creative and worked to put together virtual camps. This year we are back in-person with at least 24 in-person camps for kids across 17 Ohio counties.
In past summers, students in Ross County participated in hands-on robotics activities, while campers in Geauga County attended an aerospace engineering institute, and kids in Mahoning County built model homes out of recycled material, experimented with wind turbines, and built their own smart clocks.
This year, at the Makers of Tomorrow camp in Summit County, students will learn how to make plastic with sustainable materials. Our camp in Defiance is focused on food manufacturing and agribusiness, and will include visits to local manufacturers.
In Mahoning County, campers will learn about coding and in Fairfield County, campers will focus on robotics. In Richland County, the Camp will be focused on supply chains – an issue we know is so important to Ohioans’ lives right now.
If we’re going to compete with China, we need Ohioans of all ages to realize all the opportunities available to them in these industries, and we need to make sure they’re good jobs where people can build careers and see a future.
To find a camp near you, visit https://www.brown.senate.gov/summercamps .
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.