Tag Archive: STEM education

  1. Welcome to MFG Day at Keats

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    MFG Day, STEM Education and Why Keats Cares

    Bert and Glenn Keats saw more than just the Northwest Side of Chicago in 1958 — they saw opportunity. Starting with three employees and growing to triple digits is something we’re proud of as a company and as a family, and we couldn’t have done it without smart, dedicated, hardworking people.

    MFG-Day-LogoNational MFG Day

    We know that the future of our company — and American manufacturing — lies with today’s students and their communities. It’s why we’re so proud to be a part of Manufacturing Day and modern education in Illinois.

    Keats-MFGDay-1-2014We’re thrilled to join the nation’s manufacturers on October 2, 2015, in opening our doors for tours and education about our craft. Connecting with future generations is important to us — we were just as proud to host young people as to see Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner last year, and we look forward to sharing our work again with this year’s tours.

    Keats and Education

    The team at Keats supports education and opportunity for young people at every chance we get, not just once a year. We developed Keats University for exceptional in-house training for our employees because it’s vital, not only to the success of our people and our company, but of our industry at large.

    Today’s Illinois is a very different place from that of our grandfathers, and encouraging our young talent is more important than ever. These future engineers and manufacturers deserve not only to be inspired and hired, but trained and mentored — it’s why we promote STEM education and the Illinois Department of Commerce’s Youth Task Force Board. It’s also why we’re so lucky to be involved with the staff and students at Wheeling High School.

    Of our 110 employees, 17 graduated from Wheeling High School. We’re proud to say that, and we were honored to be invited to teach a class for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs there. We strongly support the STEM Education Program at Wheeling, as well as the Manufacturing Career Internship program with the Illinois WorkNet Center. As we seek interns throughout the year, we’re fortunate to look to Wheeling for bright young talent.

    To learn more about the work we do at Keats or the role of manufacturers and the future of American work, check out our feature in The United States of Trade. Over 50 years of excellence gives us more than a great story — it inspires us for the future.

  2. Keats Supports STEM Education

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    U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated for a third straight month, according to an industry report at the beginning of May. As seen in The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), national factory activity rose in April, continuing upward from March—which shows every indication of a continuing trend.

    There’s a glitch in this economic scenario, though. Today’s manufacturing workforce is mostly age 45 and older. Baby Boomers are retiring, and it seems as though many young people have negative perceptions about manufacturing jobs, despite all kinds of reliable information showing a future of an increasingly technology-based economy.

    It is fairly clear that manufacturing is where the jobs will be in the future.  Technical fields are expanding ahead of others. On top of this it the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that by 2018, 1 in 20 jobs—an estimated 2.8 million jobs—will require secondary degrees; over two-thirds will require a bachelor’s degree.

    350 Front (1)The first place to start engaging future employees is with programs in junior/senior high schools, getting students excited about STEM subjects.  STEM education includes every field under the umbrella of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—everything from chemistry to physics, software design to trigonometry. Many manufacturers, including Keats, have developed partnerships with schools to encourage them to offer more skills training and to increase emphasis on STEM programs.

    Getting students into our plant to take a good look around is one way to increase awareness and generate interest. Recently, the TMA (Tooling & Manufacturing Assoc.) brought a youth tour group through our facility. It was a fantastic way to expose kids to the great career opportunities in manufacturing. Not long ago, another group engineering students from Tenor High School PLTW (from Milwaukee, WI) also visited Keats for a tour.

    An additional initiative Keats is involved with is a group called the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics. Its role is to boost awareness among young people of the importance of STEM training.  The Board provided students with special lectures, events, contests, and educational outings.

    Right here in our plant at Keats, we held an eight-week basic metalworking skills class in partnership with the Jane Addams Resource Corp (JARC).  The class was for our new employees to gain competency in basic metalworking.

    You may recall that about a year ago, we blogged about our paid internship program, which is yet another way of giving younger workers the readiness they need to be competitive in manufacturing. It has been extremely beneficial in helping us find the next generation of proficient workers. In fact, last year Keats hired and retained 15 new staff (average age 25), bringing the total number of its employees to 106.

    For Keats, as well as the entire manufacturing sector, to benefit and succeed in this era of technology innovation, those of us who love the industry must continue to share their passion with the next generation. It benefits each and every one of us in the end.