Today’s manufacturing is about advanced technologies, state of the art facilities, and fast-paced work environments. But most of all, manufacturing is about people who like to see the product of a hard day’s work. However, this is not the impression of manufacturing that is held by many Americans today.
Only 35 percent of parents say they would encourage their children to pursue careers in manufacturing despite the advanced skills and high pay that are characteristic of work in today’s advanced manufacturing industry. This is due to a perception of manufacturing that existed a generation ago but does not represent the current reality of the industry.
To put an end to this misperception, The Manufacturing Institute launched the Dream It. Do It. On October 2, 2015, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company joined forces with the Manufacturing Institute to reach out to and expose middle school students to advanced manufacturing with the goal of strengthening the workforce pipeline.
In Cooper’s first year of involvement in Dream It. Do It., the company will focus its efforts in U.S. communities where it operates tire manufacturing facilities, including Findlay, Ohio; Tupelo, Miss. and Texarkana, Ark. As part of the effort, Cooper has appointed a Dream Team, which is composed of more than 25 employees who hold a wide variety of positions within these facilities and at Cooper’s corporate headquarters and technical centers, also located in Findlay. Throughout the year, the Dream Team will execute multiple programs in local communities, including children’s mentoring efforts, teaching in local middle schools using interactive, manufacturing-related curriculum, and engaging in a number of other community-based efforts such as fairs and speaking engagements to drive broad awareness about careers in manufacturing.
This October, members of Findlay’s Cooper Dream Team and others hosted eighth-grade students for the Cooper Tire Manufacturing Experience. This experience brought the students on site to Cooper where they moved through a series of interactive experiences designed to spark their interest in manufacturing. For example, students learned about raw material composition, material weights, and quality control monitoring. They also interacted with Cooper engineers using CAD simulations to design tires for specific performance characteristics. In addition, they learned about the use of 3D printing and participated in manufacturing simulations that involve tire assembly, curing, finishing, testing and the importance of work done behind the scenes by millwrights and electricians.
Students who attend Manufacturing Experience events at Cooper are encouraged to share their experiences through social media using #cooperiscool and #mfgday15, which will expand awareness of manufacturing to friends and family across the U.S.
- 800+ eighth-grade students
- 25+ Cooper employees