A Note From John Ratzenberger
Today I'm excited to announce a landmark partnership between Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs (NBT) and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). We have joined forces to develop a national program that builds on NBT's successful summer manufacturing camp blueprint.
I met NACCE's executive director Heather Van Sickle last summer at an event we held in their hometown of Springfield, MA. As we got to know each other it was clear that our two organizations could work together to take the summer manufacturing camp concept to the next level - a level that would allow us to continue to introduce young people to careers in manufacturing, and also help them understand how products become businesses and what it takes to start and run a successful business.
The camps expose youth to vocational and technical trades that they rarely encounter in today's public education systems. Many young people today have no role models when it comes to fixing things themselves or taking pride in building something useful, and they reject the idea of a career in one of the manual arts such as manufacturing, electrical, plumbing, carpentry or welding.
These are some of the career areas that offer the greatest opportunity for people who want to become entrepreneurs. With more than 70 percent of all the jobs created in North America coming from small businesses - many of them started and run by inspired entrepreneurs - this is a segment of our economy that deserves all the support and inspiration we can provide.
This summer in our pilot program of collaboration with NACCE, 18 camps will be conducted in NACCE member colleges in 11 states.Find out if a camp is coming to your area. If there is one in your area and you'd like to show your support, drop me a note to express your interest. The camps receive a grant from NBT, but they still need support from local companies. Whether you can open your doors for a plant tour, donate material needed for their manufacturing project, sponsor a camper or two, provide lunch for the kids during their camp week, or provide any other assistance, we can match you up with the right person.
We count on support from people like you to keep growing this camp program across North America and increasing our ability to provide scholarships to high school grads who need assistance to meet their manufacturing career goals. This year we've received more than 200 scholarship applications - the highest number ever. Donate online, join NBT's cause on Facebook, and encourage young people to go to a NBT Summer Manufacturing Camp. There has never been a greater sense of urgency in our industry to roll up our sleeves, dig in deep and act now. The future of American manufacturing depends on it.
Until next time,