Ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, and you’re likely to hear a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or even an astronaut! Rarely do children respond that they want to work in manufacturing—but Caroline Nichols, K-12 program manager, and Lauren Howell, K-12 program intern at Textron Aviation intend to change that.
Caroline asks a couple of simple questions when meeting students. “Do you like to build things? Have you ever built anything with Legos?” When children hear that, it leads to a resounding classroom “Yes!”
“Children love to build and often don’t know that they can build things for a living,” says Caroline. “It is so rewarding to see the lightbulb go on when a student’s interests connect to aviation. They love to build with Legos? We have assembler positions for them to build life-size aircraft!
Inspiring creators and inventors
Textron Aviation’s K-12 program works with children starting in Kindergarten to help them discover that there are incredible, successful options after high school in a manufacturing career. Most children have a directional path for their future by age 12, so it’s important to reach youth at a young age to understand all their options.
Caroline Nichols, K-12 program manager, Textron AviationWhen working with students of elementary school age, I use words such as creator, builder and inventor, said Caroline. The students connect to those career titles much easier than words we use in industry, such as engineer or assembler.’
For Manufacturing Day earlier this month, the K-12 program team connected children with building opportunities by delivering STEM packages to local middle schools in Wichita, Kan. The packages included hands-on building activities like paper roller coaster, foam rocket and popsicle stick catapult for students and educators to create in the classroom or at home.
Each activity introduced students to important skills like problem solving, critical thinking and design.
Engaging with hands-on experiences
In addition to the STEM packages for middle school students, Textron Aviation proudly sponsored a local Manufacturing Day event at WSU Tech for over 120 high school students.
The students participated in hands-on activities in various advanced manufacturing focuses throughout the day, including robotics, supply chain and logistics, welding, aviation sheet metal and aviation paint.
Caroline Nichols, K-12 program manager, Textron AviationI am grateful to represent Textron Aviation while connecting students, educators and those in our community to the opportunities right here in their backyard, building an important future talent pipeline.
Celebrating our manufacturing experts
Celebrated every year in October, Manufacturing Day shows students, parents, and the public what modern manufacturing is all about.
According to The Manufacturing Institute, manufacturers will seek to fill more than 4 million jobs with highly skilled workers in the next ten years. Manufacturing Day aims to bring together industry partners to celebrate this work and share it with future generations.
Want to join the fun in celebrating Manufacturing Day? Share these activities in the 2021 Textron Aviation STEM packages with students or friends:
Textron Aviation offers full-time manufacturing career opportunities for any educational path. Explore what opportunity is right for you at txtav.com/careers.