By Lucinda “Lucy” McGrath, STIHL intern
In July, STIHL Inc. hosted 38 high school students from around the Hampton Roads area at the 4th annual STIHL Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp. The goal of the 4-day long camp was to give the students a better understanding of modern manufacturing and to introduce them to an alternative career path.
Divided into five teams, the students completed 18 activities that led them to the
final competition where they produced wireless Bluetooth speakers. The activities included engineering, working with advanced technology, investing, budgeting, corporate branding, and how to work in an assembly process. The students were introduced to new technology with the 3-D printer that made the orange speaker grills, which were screwed on to the final product. As another part of the camp, the students learned and participated in advanced soldering.
One of the other portions of the summer camp was the presentation from Lorraine Wagner, director of manufacturing, who spoke to the students about the apprenticeship program available through STIHL Inc. This program provides an alternate 4-year education and paid job at STIHL for those students who may not want to go straight to college. While students work as an apprentice at STIHL Inc. during the day, they take classes at night. At the end of the 4-year apprenticeship, most students finish with an Associate’s Degree. The intent is full-time employment at STIHL Inc. after completion of the program.
Andy Jaeckle explained, “The camp creates a natural way for high school students to get involved with the ideas of the future like the apprenticeship program and internships.”
The camp ended with a 2-hour long competition on Saturday with guest judges like the President of the Tidewater Community College, Dr. Edna Baehre-Kolovani and the ODU President, John Broderick. The Bumble Beatz was the overall winning team, and each team member earned a $1,000 scholarship for a local STEM program.
Participant from the winning team, Carter Sabo said, “Before this week, I thought manufacturing was just putting stuff together, but after being taught by our coaches and assistant coaches, I found out that it takes hard work, time studies, and a good production plan to produce a high quality product.”