Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs PORTSfuture program was invited by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to support a summer manufacturing camp in Jackson, Ohio, one of the annual camps held throughout Ohio.
These camps encourage middle school students to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education activities and learn about the vast career opportunities available in manufacturing and related industries, many in their own communities. This year, Brown’s office will help organize at least 27 camps in 21 counties.
“Manufacturing is one of our state’s most important industries, but too often, our companies can’t find workers with the right skills, while our students don’t realize all the opportunities available to them,” said Brown in an earlier release from his office. “We need today’s Ohio students to realize all the potential careers they could have in Ohio manufacturing, and that’s why, for seven years now, my office has put on summer manufacturing camps for fourth through eighth graders across Ohio.”
The Jackson County Department of Job and Family Services organized the summer manufacturing camp this year in Jackson. The PORTSfuture program served as a platinum sponsor of the camp and collaborated with US Department of Energy (DOE), Restoration Services EnTech Incorporated (RSI), and Fluor-BWXT site contractors to provide a STEM session to approximately 20 camp participants.
“Ohio University is so pleased to participate in this activity for local youth and encourage them to learn about and pursue STEM educational and experiential opportunities to inform their future career pursuits,” Stephanie Howe, PORTSfuture program director, said.
Ohio University, RSI representatives, Rick Greene and Joe Moore, provided an overview of the Ohio US DOE site and, along with Deneen Garner from Fluor BWXT, discussed STEM career opportunities at the facility. Fluor-BWXT representatives Damon Horn and Kyle Rase demonstrated exoskeletal robotic technology and its application at the Portsmouth site. The “Exovest” alleviates stress on the arms and back for workers during activities that require them to raise their arms for an extended period of time. The technology diminishes physical impacts on workers while enhancing their productivity. All students were able to don the vest and experience the robotic technology first-hand.
“It’s important to know you don’t need a college degree to find a great career,” Tiffani Stevens, Jackson County Jobs and Family Services and organizer of the summer manufacturing camp, said. “We want to be able to show these students all the opportunities that are available in our region.”
The PORTSfuture program is funded by a grant from the US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO EM). Activities are related to community engagement, STEM outreach, and informing cleanup and repurposing of public assets at the DOE PORTS facility near Piketon, Ohio.