While most Boone County students were sitting poolside this summer or honing their gaming skills, one Conner High School teacher took a group of potential engineers to tour two local manufacturing plants.
Debbie Garey, who teaches freshmen, assembled a group of 10 students to tour Bosch in Hebron and Safran, on Carbon Way in Walton. Safran is the parent company of Messier-Bugatti-Dowty, which is undergoing a $100 million expansion in Walton by 2018.
During their daylong tour at Safran, students met with engineers, toured the plant and labs and met a variety of professionals from entry level up. Safran is a little-known plant that plays a huge role in manufacturing wheels and brakes for airplanes used by major airline companies and the U.S. Air Force. “The average person does not know what we do,” said Mike Michele, a vice president at the company.
Garey chose the summer months for the students to tour, “to enlist students with a genuine interest,” she said. They were then asked to produce videos introducing other students to opportunities they encountered at Bosch and Safran.
Michele was impressed with some questions the students asked, such as “What is the amount of natural gas you use in a day?”
That question came from Logan White, a 2016 graduate of Dixie Heights High School.
“The very good questions give me hope for the future of manufacturing,” Michele said.
Manufacturing is an industry in Kentucky that tends to not attract a lot of young people. Outsiders perceive plants as being dark and jobs requiring brawn and little brains – two misperceptions those in the industry are trying to reverse.
The two stops were part of a test pilot program to pique students’ interest in manufacturing. It was also meant to highlight all the opportunities under Kentucky’s FAME (Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) program. “The manufacturers want feedback from kids,” Garey said. “There are a total of 17 manufacturers in Northern Kentucky involved in KYFAME, they want to build a workforce to support the expansion of manufacturing in our area. They are looking for their future leaders.”