Manufacturing camp sparks interest

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

BELDEN – By the end of this week, 30 Northeast Mississippi students will make stainless steel clocks.
They’ll also know much more about high-tech manufacturing and how to one day get jobs in the industry.
The fourth-annual Nuts, Bolts amp& Thingamajigs TEK2GO Advanced Manufacturing Camp this week will introduce campers to the industry and give them hands-on experience and basic entrepreneurial skills.
“The purpose of the camp is to show kids there are a lot of career opportunities in a lot of fields,” said Todd Beadles, vice president of workforce development for the Community Development Foundation.
Beadles is coordinating the camp, which is sponsored by Hawkeye Industries, Itawamba Community College and the CDF.
On Monday, campers met at ICC’s Belden Center, where they watched a demonstration by a robot similar to one found in manufacturing facilities. They also worked with pneumatics and toured various programs offered at the school, such as HVAC, welding, Programmable Logic Controls and Computer Numeric Coding.
Today, they will tour General Atomics in Shannon and CIP in Amory. They’ll spend the rest of the week going to Hawkeye Industries and ICC’s Tupelo campus and fabricating their own clock out of sheet metal.
“We want to expose them to designing a product on a computer and walking through the steps of the manufacturing process until they have a tangible item to take home,” Beadles said. “They get to take home a neat product they can keep for the rest of their lives.”
Camper Branekia Marshall, 14, of Tupelo said she looked forward to watching the robots, while Elizabeth Hale, 13, of Sherman was eager to see the different places they will visit.
Jeffrey Wiygul, 15, of Saltillo wanted to know how the robot acted and what it did. Jackson Kenney, 14, of Guntown hoped he could learn skills to help him have a good future.
“I want to learn about how technology works and have something to do,” he said.
The camp was open to students ages 12 to 15 and designed to help inspire the next generation of inventors, engineers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers.
“We just want to spark an interest in technology and manufacturing,” said Scott Blackley, director of continuing education at ICC.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com