Techfacturing Camp Gives Youth a Head Start in High Tech

From: Public Affairs

July 16, 2009

What's better than being a kid in a candy store? How about touring an entire candy factory?

Fifty Valley students from grades 6-8 will see the inner workings of the Stuart's Draft, Va., Hershey factory and McKee Foods plant, which produces Little Debbie snack cakes, as well as the high-tech operations of CEMSI in Weyers Cave and Cadence Inc. in Staunton as part of Techfacturing camp July 20-22.

The camp is hosted by JMU's Outreach and Engagement and Blue Ridge Community College through the Blue Ridge Tech Prep Consortium's Community-Based Job Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

"The pipeline of science and engineering talent is decreasing while demand for workers in those disciplines is on the rise," said Dr. Rob Prins, assistant professor of engineering at JMU. "Employment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math have grown faster than the numbers of students graduating with manufacturing and engineering degrees. This camp is great way to help students get a head start on those pathways."

In addition to the tours, student participants will take part in group projects, presentations and discussions at both JMU and BRCC each of the three days.

The camp runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at the ISAT/CS Building on JMU's campus. Participation is free for all of the students, who had to register last month. Students also will receive lunch each day and a T-shirt.

The Blue Ridge Tech Prep Consortium supports students in preparing for successful careers by building partnerships between the school systems of Augusta, Highland and Rockingham counties, and Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro cities; Blue Ridge Community College; and area employers.

For a full camp schedule, visit www.jmu.edu/outreach/techfacturing.shtml. For more information, contact JMU's Outreach and Engagement at (540) 568-7958.

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