Lake County Think Manufacturing Student Expo planned – News-Herald

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Lake County Chambers and the Alliance for Working Together Foundation will partner to host the ninth annual Lake County Think Manufacturing Student Expo at Willoughby South High School this year.

Scheduled to be held at 4900 Shankland Road on Oct. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the summit will connect students with careers in manufacturing, according to Karen Tercek, president and CEO of the Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber Of Commerce.

While many stayed home or did not work due to the effects of the pandemic, 45 manufacturers and 400 students participated in last year’s exhibition, held in the Paradigm of Mentor High Schools. Depending on the school, 50% of students may not go to college after they graduate, Tercek said. If they decide they are not, career fairs can prepare them for a viable career.

“Many of our school systems have production programs for out-of-college students that didn’t exist before,” Tercek previously told The News-Herald. “We see an upward trend there.”

Approximately 12 school districts were scheduled to attend throughout the day at last year’s expo. Also in attendance were students from Benedictine High School and Thomas Jefferson School Cleveland.

“We have what’s called the manufacturing stigma, so everyone thinks manufacturing is dark, dirty and dangerous,” AWT chief executive Juliana Petti previously told The News-Herald. “That no longer applies in modern production.”

In 2002, AWT began as a small, informal group of manufacturers who met to discuss interesting topics and best practices among local manufacturers. In 2012, the AWT Foundation became a non-profit organization and now has more than 500 members from manufacturing companies, community organizations and schools dedicated to advancing manufacturing careers. Eighty percent of the manufacturers who attended last year’s show were AWT corporate members.

Students attending this expo can gain hands-on experience, which could be an eye-opener to say they enjoy working with their hands, are innovative, and have an interest in STEM, Petti said.

“These are the jobs of the future and the jobs of today that are so important to Lake County’s livelihood for the growth and development of our workforce,” Kelly Donahue, executive director of the Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce, previously told The News-Herald . “I think it’s valuable for young people to see that manufacturing jobs aren’t the job that maybe their grandpa had.”

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