By Scott Edger (DCCC)
Over 100 Dodge City High School students toured local manufacturing facilities as well as the Dodge City Community College Tech Center to recognize National Manufacturing Day, October 4.
The event is a cooperative venture between the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation, USD 443 Pathways program, Dodge City Community College Workforce Development, and several area manufacturers.
Joann Knight, executive director of the Development Corporation hopes this event will show Dodge City students that there are many layers to the industry right here in Ford County.
“The Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation hosts Manufacturing Day every year so that students who are in the technical programs know what manufacturers are out in the community and what job opportunities are available,” she said.
DC3 President Dr. Harold Nolte extended surprise scholarship offers at lunch to 17 students who are currently taking manufacturing classes or have chosen manufacturing as a career path.
Mike Martinez, assistant principal and Career and Technical Education coordinator at Dodge City High School, said Manufacturing Day gave many students clarity about their immediate futures.
“The tour of the technical programs at DC3 and the manufacturers really opened our students’ eyes,” Martinez said, “to what opportunities are available if they want to enter the workforce immediately after graduating high school or if they want to further their education at DC3.”
Finishing the day with a tour of the DC3 tech center lets students see their path more clearly, according to Knight.
“It really brings awareness to what students can be taking while they’re in high school, and how it tracks directly into the community college and to a career.” she said. “They walked through a company’s door and saw the machinery in the processes, so when they are ready to apply for a job or even thinking about the career a career in that field, they have a more clear view of what they’re walking into.
“It’s a great chance for students to experience the businesses out in the community and then experience the college’s skilled-trades training, facilities and instructors,” Knight said.
Students toured local manufacturers: Rotomix – founded here in Dodge and a producer of agricultural feed mixers; Broce Manufacturing – which builds construction and industrial sweepers; Curtis Machine – a gearbox manufacturer; and Kitchens/Ellis James – a custom cabinet and countertop manufacturer.
Martinez said the day plays an important role in retaining local brainpower rather than see our most billion minds move away.
“Our students see that they can stay right here and get the skills they need to be an asset to our workforce and our employers that are already here,” Martinez said. “The collaborative effort between DC3, DCHS, and the manufacturers in Dodge City provided an amazing experience for our students.”
The college featured another of its workforce programs with helicopter landing in the parking lot of the student activity center. The DC3 Flight Instructor Program in Arizona has recently been reinstated, and Neil Jones, president of Quantum Helicopters, the college’s new training partner, used the Manufacturing Day opportunity to let students gain some much needed flight time, and brought in one of Quantum’s training choppers for the several dozen community members in attendance to examine.