The Innovative Technologies Center (ITC) at National Park College (NPC) hosted a Young Manufacturers Academy (YMA) last week. This was the third annual event for YMA, which included 25 students in sixth through eighth grade.
The weeklong academy was full of activities that introduced students to numerous career opportunities in the field of manufacturing. Highlights of the week included a robotics activity at the Mid-America Science Museum, a Lean Manufacturing Event hosted by the Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions Group, a visit from the Be Pro Be Proud mobile unit, industry tours to Triumph Airborne Structures and Timber Automation, and a field trip to the Maker Space at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA).
Guest speakers also visited students at the ITC, including Karen Kitchens from Regions Bank and Charlene and Justin Simon, local entrepreneurs who established homegrown manufacturing companies such as Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium and Fat Bottom Girls Cupcakes. Ms. Kitchens talked to the students about how to develop and finance a manufacturing business and the Simons spoke about their manufacturing journey from the kitchen sink to an industrial manufacturing complex.
The students’ final day included a capstone team activity, where students designed, manufactured and raced battery-operated cars. Parents and guests were provided insight into the students’ weeklong experiences through presentations given by the teams.
This event was sponsored by the Gene Haas Foundation, who provided grants for YMA programs across the state. The Gene Haas Foundation has donated $177,500 to Arkansas schools this year. NPC was awarded $7,500 in grant funds to support the YMA event and fund scholarships for programs delivered by NPC’s Innovative Technologies Center.
Pictured: YMA participants Dallas Mitchell, Nathan Constancio and Isaac Cabibi-Wilkin prepare to race their teams’ cars that were manufactured during Friday’s capstone activity at the National Park College Innovative Technologies Center.