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Connecting Kids To The World Of Manufacturing
April 1, 2007

With the click of a mouse, young people can get a behind-the-scenes look into the significance and fascination of manufacturing. The Web site, Manufacturing is Cool (, was re-created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation with the goal of inspiring pre-teens and teens to pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing.

“If we are going to inspire enough young people to pursue careers in engineering in the coming decades, we have to show our kids how fascinating math and science can be,“ said Glen Pearson, president of the SME Education Foundation. “With this Web site, we’re showing kids all the cool things they could do if they pursue a career in manufacturing.”

Manufacturing is Cool provides an inside look at how kid favorites – such as snacks, fashion, cars and cell phones – are designed and produced by engineers. It also features video clips of peers creating radio-controlled air planes and building computers at the Science, Technology & Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) programs. Additional site features include Moving Mechanical, which takes students behind the wheel, and Favorite Fashionista, which takes them to the world of cosmetics and apparel design. The activities and resources available will continue to evolve as new information is posted to the site.

Parents, teachers and students also can use the Manufacturing Is Cool web site as a resource for information on the Foundation, such as its available grants and scholarships. The site contains links to information on STEPS programs, which are now offered in 14 states with more than 50 total programs. There are also links to helpful directions on engineering programs at the college level and as well as other interesting and fun manufacturing web sites.

The Manufacturing Is Cool web site is part of the foundation’s larger initiative to address the shortage of skilled manufacturing workers. If left unchecked, this deficit will critically affect America’s manufacturers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The foundation’s youth outreach programs inspire students’ interest in engineering and technology at the middle and high school age. This helps motivate students to take the advanced-level math and science courses during high school that are prerequisites for pursuing engineering degrees.

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