Kids, Machines and Manufacturing Days

Students from a dozen Chicago area high schools toured GF Machining Solutions’ front office, warehouse and demonstration center during its Manufacturing Days event.


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Kids and machines—what a great combination, especially when you see them come together at an annual event like GF Machining Solutions Manufacturing Days, which was held last week at the company’s Lincolnshire, Illinois, headquarters. I was there for day one of the three-day event, and students and teachers from several Chicago area schools came through. It was great fun talking with them and watching them connect with manufacturing in a new way… as a possible career.

More than 90 students from five high schools toured GF Machining Solutions’ front office, warehouse and demonstration center the first day. Harry Moser, retired president of GF AgieCharmilles and founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, was a guest speaker each day. They were also able to connect with about half a dozen industry organizations that have internship and apprenticeship programs. When I spoke with some of the students, I found that several of them already had an understanding of manufacturing and a few even planned to pursue engineering careers. Others, not surprisingly, had no understanding about manufacturing and the role it plays in their lives until they crossed the threshold of GF Machining Solutions’ front door.

The greatest experience for me was seeing the lightbulb go on within several of the students’ minds that day as they took it all in. One young lady came up to me and told me she’d never even thought about manufacturing before, in any way, until that day and she was becoming more and more interested in it as the day went on. Success!

I had the opportunity to talk with Gisbert Ledvon, who is the director of business development at GF Machining Solutions, before the event. He emphasized how critically important it was to have students, parents and teachers attend events like this to learn about rewarding career opportunities in advanced manufacturing. With two million or more manufacturing jobs expected to go unfilled in the next decade, Ledvon said GF Machining Solutions is doing what it can to shed light on manufacturing in an exciting way, and hosting Manufacturing Days is one great way to do it.