SCHAUMBURG, IL — Approximately 50 students from Palatine and Schaumburg High Schools received a hands-on introduction to the real-world opportunities available to them through pursuing a career in the field of manufacturing during a unique public-private partnership hosted by Sandvik Coromant in Schaumburg. The event is an effort by Sandvik Coromant, the National Association of Manufacturing Institute (NAMI), the Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII), and the Illinois Manufacturers' Association Education Foundation to introduce students to the wide-range of opportunities available in manufacturing, engineering and technology fields.

"As a manufacturer, we recognize the need to attract students to careers in our industry," said Sean Holt, president Sandvik Coromant Americas. "It's important to work with young people early on to create an environment where they can become excited about manufacturing, from designing and producing everyday items to uniquely high-tech objects that stretch the imagination. Through events like this, we will hopefully open their eyes to the possibilities, and show them how they can prepare for a career in manufacturing."

During the half-day event, students were broken up into groups visiting five different stations focused on different areas of study, including hands-on experiences operating a derby car using computer technology, interlocking mechanical star puzzles, and testing the Microsoft HoloLens, a new technology from Microsoft bringing high-definition holograms to life. Students also explored careers in modern manufacturing through a game testing industry myths and facts, with the goal of creating excitement about their own path into the manufacturing industry, including internships, apprenticeships, certifications and more.

"District 211 Students are excited to participate in the Aspire to Manufacturing event to learn more about the opportunities in manufacturing as well as the future of manufacturing," said Mark Hibner, District 211 applied technology district chair and Palatine High School applied tech department chair. "We are thankful for this educational opportunity that the industry has created to inspire our students."

"The more students get to see modern manufacturing in action, the more excited they tend to be about a career in our industry," said Brent Weil, senior vice president of The Manufacturing Institute. "I am proud to partner with Sandvik Coromant, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, Illinois School District 211 and DMDII to raise awareness about great careers and how students can achieve them."

According to experts, students are often unaware of careers available in manufacturing, many of which do not require a four-year degree, but have pathways to both baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate degrees.

"Technology is advancing rapidly. This is not the manufacturing of our parents' and grandparents' generation," said Caralynn Nowinski Collens, CEO of UI LABS, the parent organization of DMDII. "In order to prepare for the future, we need to start today by changing students' perception of where manufacturing is headed."

According to the federal Commerce Department, the average annual salary and benefits in manufacturing today exceeds $80,000 per year. Moreover, manufacturing technology leads all other sectors of the economy and offers great careers and advancement opportunities-from entry level, to management, to ownership-for those who enjoy the challenge of creating the world of tomorrow. 

"This program is a great example of a public-private partnership that will ultimately help grow a qualified pipeline for workers in Illinois," said Greg Baise, president and CEO, Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "Over the next ten years, it's expected that manufacturing will need more than 5,000 engineers every year just to keep up with demand. We hope to continue broadening interest to increase success across the board for students pursuing opportunities in both manufacturing and information technology."