Kansas Dream it Do it: Engaging Students to Strengthen the Future of Kansas Manufacturing

By Tiffany Stovall on June 9, 2016 | Topics > Workforce

One of the most common things that MAMTC hears when talking with Kansas manufacturing companies about their needs are for a skilled workforce. Another workforce development issue that comes up is the lack of a pipeline of potential workers interested in manufacturing as the older generation retires. One of the ways that MAMTC is helping to address this issue is by partnering with the Kansas Board of Regents to develop a Kansas Dream it. Do it. program.

Dream It. Do It. is a national effort that works to change the perception of the manufacturing industry and inspire next-generation workers to pursue manufacturing careers.

I recently traveled to Arlington, VA to spend time at the Dream It, Do It Collaborative Learning Conference. The conference was hosted by the Manufacturing Institute. Attendees were an interesting mix of manufacturers and representatives from NIST MEP centers, economic development agencies, workforce agencies, educators, school district officials, and manufacturing association members from across the United States.

The conference kicked off with an awesome welcome by Jennifer McNelly, Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute. She inspired us all to remember why we are a part of the Dream it, Do it network.

She rallied us early on by reminding us that we got behind the efforts of The Manufacturing Institute not because they are an advocacy organization, but because they have dedicated to be an activity organization. Our shared mission is to mobilize as a national army, of sorts, to promote manufacturing.

We are all working under the common goals of changing the perception of manufacturing, inspiring students to enter the manufacturing workforce by exciting them about the training and job opportunities in manufacturing.

Last year, the Kansas Dream it. Do it. effort was focused on making Manufacturing Day 2015 successful. With almost 25 documented events statewide and hundreds of students exposed to manufacturing as a cool potential career choice through presentations, tours at manufacturing plants, and open houses by colleges to explore training opportunities, we were very pleased with the outcome.

We are busy at work developing new Dream it. Do it. initiatives for 2016. I am so excited about the Kansas Manufacturing Ambassadors program that we are developing and I can’t wait to share more information with you in the near future. Please stay tuned to learn more!

Any questions or comments, please contact me (Tiffany Stovall) at tstovall@mamtc.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts!