CAMP GIVES TEACHERS A TASTE OF MANUFACTURING CAREERS
By Aaron Mudd - BG Daily News - Photos by Austin Anthony - BG Daily News
Mike Greer is teaching the basics of using metalworking machines to a group of pupils at a workshop at the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College Transpark Center.
Greer, an assistant professor of computerized manufacturing and machining, kept a watchful eye Monday on students as they took turns learning to use a lathe, a piece of equipment that shapes metal as it s spun on a wheel like a piece of clay.
Although the demonstration might be routine for Greer, it s not for his students. That s because several of the students are actually high school teachers and other personnel who want to learn more about advanced manufacturing so they can better guide students into viable careers.
Educational sessions like these are a part of two summer sessions hosted by SKyCTC to help change perceptions around careers in advanced manufacturing by educating high school teachers and counselors. The first session began Monday and will run through Friday and another session is next week. Funding for the camp comes from a National Science Foundation grant and helps keep the camp free for participants. Along with projects and activities throughout the week, the camp also provides lunch to participants and a $500 stipend for those who complete the week.
Just like Greer s regular students, participants in the camp started off by learning the basics of machines like lathes and surface grinders. Greer, who has taught at SKyCTC since 2006, teased participants as he explained the complexities of each machine. After showing them how to use a surface grinder, which involves turning two hand wheels in a precise way to grind grooves into a metal block, participants struggled to use it properly. It became clear to the participants that the work isn t easy and requires skill.
Destiny O Rourke, a college and career readiness coach at Bowling Green High School who tried both the lathe and the surface grinder, said there s a lot of precision, attention to detail and math involved with manufacturing careers. Although the camp lined up with her expectations, O Rourke said high school students sometimes have different perceptions of what manufacturing work is like. They tell her it s like working on an assembly line or in a sweatshop.
In Cristen Olson s experience as a BGHS chemistry teacher, students often don t fully recognize their options.
I want my students to have access to all the opportunities in the community, she said.
Fellow BGHS chemistry teacher Susan Morgan said the camp gave her real world examples to convey course concepts to students. Understanding the importance of converting between the U.S. standard and metric measuring systems is one example, Morgan said.
Greer, who has been in the tool and die trade since 1978, said most people don t realize the good living that can be made in his field.
For Greer, the result means more than the process.
It s the satisfaction of knowing that you made that with your hands.