Where can you “race to the future” in a mobile, immersive manufacturing experience, try your hand at cutting-edge technology and get free career advice from top professionals? At a Creators Wanted stop, of course.
Participants at last week’s Creators Wanted stops in Marysville and Columbus, Ohio, did all this and more.
Two stops, one week: The Honda Heritage Center was the site of two days of educational fun last Wednesday and Thursday, after which the Creators Wanted Tour continued on to the COSI Science Festival in Columbus, Ohio’s largest STEM event, on Saturday.
- The stops were the 15th and 16th, respectively, on Creators Wanted’s nationwide tour, an initiative of the NAM and its 501(c)3 workforce development and education affiliate, the Manufacturing Institute.
- The tour aims to shore up the manufacturing workforce by 600,000 workers, increase the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools or reskilling programs by 25% and boost the positive perception of the industry among parents from 27% to 50%—all by 2025.
- Nearly 1,000 kids and adults came through the Creators Wanted immersive experience during its three days in Ohio, and 35,000 students and career mentors signed up to learn more about modern manufacturing careers, increasing the network to 1.2 million nationwide.
Sites to behold: More than 300 students from central Ohio schools toured the Honda Heritage Center on Wednesday and Thursday.
- Students learned about the American Honda Motor Company’s rich history of innovation, beginning in 1959, and toured the Honda Technical Development Center, where Honda associates advance their skills in high-tech manufacturing.
- Tour sponsor FactoryFix was on hand, too, helping students explore pathways to manufacturing careers through information handouts and in-person Q&As with company representatives.
Theme-park lines: At COSI, the Creators Wanted experience had the festival buzzing, with attendees lining up to take their turn. More than 675 kids and adults moved through the unit in just six hours.
- “We built this experience to excite future creators and their career mentors like parents,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas, who was onsite with the tour. “I’m not sure anyone fully anticipated how much of an attraction we’d be with the immersive experience—it’s a huge draw.”
A big commitment: Tour-stop host Honda—which has been instrumental in the launch and continuation of Creators Wanted—announced that it will increase its overall commitment to the Creators Wanted campaign to $2.25 million through 2025.
- “Creators Wanted is a great opportunity to showcase what the modern manufacturing environment is like and what the career opportunities are,” said American Honda Motor Company Executive Vice President Bob Nelson. “And there are many career opportunities for everyone.”
- “Honda’s incredible support and leadership has empowered our innovative campaign to thrive—to inspire students, to positively affect parents and teachers and, now with Creators Connect, to change even more lives,” said NAM President and CEO and MI Chairman of the Board Jay Timmons.
- Sara Tracey, managing director of workforce services for the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, which participated in the events, added, “There are so many opportunities [in manufacturing] for people, regardless of what their interests are.”
“Build the future”: At both the Honda Heritage Center and COSI, there was plenty for participants to do as well as see.
- Students, parents and other attendees from local communities got the chance to use some of the latest items produced by manufacturers. These included Honda’s virtual-reality paint simulator and Honda’s safety car interactive display, as well as the many hands-on manufacturing challenges in the Creators Wanted mobile experience.
- “Know that there is a place for you in manufacturing to put whatever your skills and interests and passions are to work to build the future,” said MI President and Executive Director Carolyn Lee.
A great place to work: Many Honda associates—eager to share their positive experiences—participated in the week’s events, too, and had great things to say about modern manufacturing careers while on the ground at COSI.
- “I don’t think people realize how complex a vehicle is,” said one participating Honda associate. “The work and the people behind it, and the effort it takes to bring it to market—I can’t express how much fun that really is.”
- Said another, “I like that every day is a little bit different.”
Behind the scenes: Interested in seeing how the Creators Wanted activation at COSI unfolded? Check out the NAM’s Instagram story from this weekend here.
This article was originally published May 9, 2023, on NAM.org.