Camp Teaches Middle School Students About Opportunities in Manufacturing
The third annual summer Manufacturing Camp for middle school students in Ripley County took place June 19-21 from noon to 5 p.m. The camp was designed by six leading companies in Ripley County, facilitated by Genesis: Pathways to Success, and supported by Ivy Tech Community College and Batesville School Corporation.
“We consider this year’s camp a resounding success,” said Cheryll Obendorf, Genesis director. “With 42 campers and strong support from the local manufacturing community for programs like this, Ripley County students are extraordinarily fortunate to experience manufacturing through this camp.”
The purpose of the camp was to expose students to the vast variety of career opportunities that exist locally in the manufacturing sector.
“We are pleased to continue our involvement in the manufacturing camp and show kids everything from a plant floor to a corporate office,” said Kristina Cerniglia, Hillenbrand Chief Financial Officer. “I had the privilege of having lunch with these students. It is important to our company that they understand the world of opportunity in their backyard. It isn’t limited solely to plant roles, but manufacturing is everything from mechanics to sales to finance roles that they might not have thought of as possible jobs in the manufacturing industry. As a business, it is critically important to build these connections with our emerging workforce now.”
The campers met at Ivy Tech Community College where they boarded a Batesville School Corporation bus and were transported to one of six manufacturing facilities. Younger campers experienced hands-on activities at Batesville Tool & Die, Wood-Mizer, and the Hillenbrand Corporate Center. Older campers explored careers at Heartwood Manufacturing, Hill-Rom, and Batesville Casket. Each of these partners hosted lunch for the campers and developed an afternoon of interactive learning about manufacturing for students. Students came away with knowledge of the skills needed, high school classes available to help them obtain those skills, and postsecondary training offered to support further skill development.
“Batesville Community School Corporation takes great pride in providing opportunities for all students. The manufacturing camp leverages valued partnerships with local business and higher education,” Superintendent Paul Ketcham emphasized. “As BCSC expands and maximizes co-op and work-based opportunities, the manufacturing camp provides a valuable platform where local students are exposed to soft skills, technical skills, and employment opportunities in our community.”
At the end of each day, campers returned to Ivy Tech Community College where they participated in wrap-up activities that emphasized what they had experienced at the manufacturing facilities each day.
“We felt very fortunate to be one of the businesses representing Ripley County in this event,” commented Carlee Black of Hill-Rom. “It was a very rewarding experience to engage the hearts and minds of our future leaders in manufacturing! We look forward to these young leaders helping us keep manufacturing alive and well in our community!”
Community service was an important part of this year’s camp with seventh-grade campers at Hillenbrand Inc. using an assembly line process to fill 694 backpacks filled with school supplies for a local nonprofit, Totes for Tots and Teens (Project T3). Project T3 will provide the backpacks to children who may otherwise show up for school without the required backpack or supplies.
“We made a big difference,” said Timothy Martini, a South Ripley student. “It’s amazing that we had at most 20 kids filling all of these backpacks. I’m so glad we did this.