By Adam Ganucheau/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Fifteen Tupelo-area students got a taste of manufacturing this week during the sixth annual Tek2Go Advanced Manufacturing Camp at Itawamba Community College’s Belden campus.
The camp, which started Monday and ends today, was sponsored by ICC, Hawkeye Industries and the Tupelo Community Development Foundation, in partnership with Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs.
“The purpose of this camp is to teach these students the basics of modern advanced manufacturing,” said ICC Director of Continuing Education Scott Blackley. “They got their hands on many of the things they will need to know if they get into global manufacturing. It’s such a great experience for them.”
The students, ages 11-14, got hands-on training from several ICC instructors, and learned basic manufacturing skills like welding, painting, building an electrical circuit, lathing and drilling. They also had the chance to tour local manufacturing plants and businesses, including Hyperion Technology, Universal Asset Management, Stevens Resource Group and General Atomics.
Two of the biggest takeaways at the camp for students were the chance to make an aluminum pen and put together an Elvis-inspired guitar desk clock.
“The thing I enjoyed most about the camp was just getting to make stuff,” said Trenton Wiggington, a 14-year-old camper from Mantachie High School. “It was really cool to make the aluminum pen. It started out as just a block of metal, and it was cool to put it together ourselves.”
The 10 boys and five girls were recommended to the camp by their individual schools and organizations, all in the ICC district.
“A main goal of this camp is to encourage students to stick around the area when they graduate and start looking for jobs,” CDF project manager Gina Black said. “We have so many great places around Tupelo to work, and hopefully this can help these kids see that.”
Manufacturing jobs make up about a quarter of the workforce in Northeast Mississippi.