Student Skills Center Boasts New Name, Interactive Booths

As we struggle to find skilled workers to fill positions in manufacturing facilities across the country, there are those among us working hard to interest young people in what manufacturing and technology have to offer. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) again is giving students the opportunity to explore manufacturing at IMTS 2012 in its Student Skills Center.

Article From: 9/10/2012 Modern Machine Shop, ,

As we struggle to find skilled workers to fill positions in manufacturing facilities across the country, there are those among us working hard to interest young people in what manufacturing and technology have to offer. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) again is giving students the opportunity to explore manufacturing at IMTS 2012 in its Student Skills Center.

 
Formerly called the Student Summit, the new 2012 NIMS Student Skills Center touts not only a new name but also a new interactive experience for U.S. science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students. This week-long event, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, offers a glimpse into manufacturing technology and reinforces a nationwide drive for STEM education at the secondary and post-secondary level. The center is found in the North Building, Exhibit Hall C1 (outside McDonald’s).
 
According to Catherine Ross, Student Skills Center coordinator, the center’s new name is more appropriate. “We decided a title change was due and that it had to provide a better reflection of what the event is all about: introducing students to industries and the skills that are needed to pursue a successful career that provides a lifetime of growth.”
 
Along with a new name comes a new experience for the students who participate. “Every exhibitor at the 2012 Student Skills Center will offer exciting and thought-provoking experiences for our students,” Ross says. “Previous Student Summits at IMTS had very few requirements for exhibitor participation, and that sometimes led to unimaginative booths that lacked the ability to inspire the middle- and high school students that attend.”
 
She adds that this year’s event is the biggest, most engaging student event produced by NIMS to date. The center features about 30 exhibitors that have only students in mind. Interactive demos, simulations, hands-on activities, quizzes, contests, games and giveaways are all a part of the student experience. Some exhibitors are also featuring “Career Launch Pads”—information desks staffed by young, industry professionals where students and educators can ask career-related questions.
 
Examples of what exhibitors at the center are offering include:
 
  • City Colleges of Chicago is running a tabletop CNC lathe and CAD/CAM system where students can design and create a part. Students also can create metrology projects using micrometers and calipers.
  • DMG/Mori Seiki is giving students the opportunity to try the company’s online machine operation and programming courses, including an app-style program specially designed for the 2012 Student Skills Center.
  • Fanuc Robotics America Corp. has robotic education demonstrations that include Fanuc robots, simulation software and more.
  • Immersive Engineering is demonstrating virtual machining in a flight simulator system, with which students will be able to interact.
  • Siemens PLM Software provides an interactive product life cycle of an aircraft, and students are asked to model the wings, stabilizer and main cabin parts. Prizes will be awarded to winning designs.


In addition, the Edge Factor production company is showing its episode featuring the rescue of Chilean miners and is displaying the 3,000-lb capsule that was used in those rescues as well. Also, the company’s video crew is interviewing visiting students and educators to produce a video of their week at IMTS.

Each day, students visiting the Student Skills Center can enter a raffle to win a variety of industry-donated prizes. At the 2010 Student Summit, those prizes included everything from iPads and iPods to company swag bags filled with industry goodies and math and engineering books.

Besides participating in booth activities and competing for prizes, students can also experience the IMTS show floor. Registration at the Skills Center, which is valid throughout the week, comes with a free entry to all four wings of the show. It’s a chance to get students excited about manufacturing and technology, eliminate antiquated stereotypes of industry careers, and bridge the gap between education and industry, Ross says.

A resume collection program also was created this year at the Skills Center through which student resumes will be distributed to IMTS exhibitors after the show. “Exhibitors are not required to contact or interview anyone participating in the resume submission,” Ross says. “This is an information gathering project to give the industry a preview of the next generation.”

NIMS also has compiled a booklet of job profiles contributed by IMTS exhibitors. Each profile includes a job title, description, the skills needed to perform that job, potential for job growth and pay range. “This is a good way for students to see what positions are available in the industry,” Ross says. The Job Profile Booklets are available at the NIMS booth inside the Student Skills Center.

 

See what you missed at IMTS!

Check out IMTSTV for segments about the show and what’s new in the world of manufacturing technology, then watch Shop Talk to get the Modern Machine Shop editors’ take on IMTS, the trends they’re seeing, and what’s coming next in your industry.

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