Manufacturers support summer camps to inspire next-generation workers

June 15, 2009

Even in these uncertain economic times, companies in the hard hit manufacturing sector are stepping up to the plate to improve the industry. The Gene Haas Foundation, Amada America, and CNA Insurance Foundation contributed grants totaling $100,000 to Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs (NBT), The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl., to help fund the winners of its 2009 manufacturing camp grant awards.

Each year, with the support of sponsor companies, NBT awards grants to not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions that offer overnight or day camp experiences which introduce young people ages 12 to 16 to careers in manufacturing and engineering.

The Gene Haas Foundation, based in Oxnard, Calif., donated $50,000 to support 10 summer camps for one year; Amada America, located in Buena Park, Calif., contributed $40,000 to support three camps for three consecutive years; and Chicago-based CNA Insurance provided $10,000 to fund two camps for one year.

"We are very appreciative of the generous donations from these manufacturing companies who are helping to inspire the next generation of engineers, builders, and manufacturers," said actor, director and producer John Ratzenberger, an NBT founder. "There is an ever-increasing demand for highly skilled professionals who can design, program and operate technology. Creating a skilled workforce in the trades is vital to the future of America, and it all starts with getting young people to take pride in tinkering."

"Manufacturing camp grants help to provide positive, hands-on experiences so young people will consider manufacturing as a career option, and ultimately increase the pool of available, highly skilled workers in the country," said Terrence Egan, NBT director. "We thank the Gene Haas Foundation, Amada America and CNA Insurance for making this investment in the future manufacturing workforce of America."

The camps target youth at the critical level of secondary education, exposing them to math, science and engineering principles, and giving them opportunities to see the technology being used in industry and the high level of skills that will be required from the workforce.

"These camps provide youth with the exposure to vocational and technical trades that no longer exist in all public education systems," added Egan. "Motivating youth to consider these trades will have a positive effect on graduation rates, increase the chance for them to earn a living wage, and create a more qualified workforce and community development in impoverished areas."

NBT recently launched a text-to-give program that allows people to donate to the organization by simply texting "123" to the number "90999" from their cell phone. Supporters will be prompted to confirm their gift by replying with the word YES. After replying with YES, they will receive a confirmation and the message generates a five dollar donation charged directly to the caller's cell phone bill.

The Gene Haas Foundation was established in 1999 by Gene Haas, founder and president of Haas Automation, Inc., the largest machine tool manufacturer in the United States, to provide financial assistance for students interested in manufacturing-based careers.

Amada America manufactures and sells sheet metal fabricating equipment, including CNC turret punch presses, lasers, press brakes, shears, flexible manufacturing systems, and related software.

CNA Insurance is the country's seventh largest commercial insurance writer and the 13th largest property and casualty company.

Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs: The Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl., offers grants to not-for-profit organizations and educational institutions introducing young people to careers in manufacturing, provides funding to organizations starting or expanding manufacturing camps for youth, and issues scholarships to students at colleges and trade schools pursuing careers in manufacturing. More information on NBT is available by visiting www.NutsAndBoltsFoundation.org.

Based in Rockford, Ill., the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International, is a professional organization with more than 2,300 members working together to improve the metal forming and fabricating industry.



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