6th Annual Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit Sparks Focus on Future Careers

6th Annual Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit Sparks Focus on Future Careers

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – October 17, 2019 – Inquisitive middle and high school girls will gather to explore the innovative manufacturing industry at the 6th annual Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 22 in Fairfield, Conn.

More than 125 middle and high school girls from around the state are expected to attend the event, which focuses on careers and educational programs in manufacturing through exhibits, team-based workshops that replicate the manufacturing process, and unique interactive activities using new technologies such as 3-D printing, rapid prototyping technology, and augmented reality.

The Girls Summit is presented by Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) in partnership with Sacred Heart University (SHU).  It will be held at the university’s newly renovated West Campus MakerSpace, an 11,000-square-foot prototyping lab for digital fabrication and advanced manufacturing.

The MakerSpace, aptly situated in the former General Electric world headquarters, includes desktop and commercial equipment for 3D-scanning and printing, prototyping and characterizing new products, laser cutters, CNC systems, and assembly studio spaces. A drone research lab within the space allows researchers to work on machine learning and autonomous operations through robots and quadcopters.

“At SHU, we realize how technology is evolving. By establishing our MakerSpace, we want to be at the forefront of training our students on advanced digital manufacturing technology. CCAT’s mission fits right in with our vision and we are extremely excited to collaborate and host their event to engage middle and high school girls in the ever-evolving technological world,” said Tolga Kaya, director of engineering and associate professor of engineering, SHU.

Women in manufacturing

According to a 2017 Deloitte study of women in manufacturing, women comprise 47 percent of the general U.S. labor force, but only 29 percent are in manufacturing jobs.  Sparking interest in future careers among girls is a priority to ensure manufacturers can attract, retain and advance women in skilled positions.

“With the low percentage of women currently in the field , it is critical to begin engaging young women in hands-on activities and events like the Making It Real: Girls & Manufacturing Summit to spark their interest and inspire them to consider making manufacturing their future,” said Alyce Stiles, associate director, experiential STEM education, CCAT.

Survey results from past Girls Summit events are staggering. In post-event surveys, 80 percent of students reported that they were interested in a manufacturing career, 81 percent wanted to learn more about manufacturing, and 98 percent rated it a positive experience.

Creative, valuable and inspiring

Educators and manufacturers speak enthusiastically about the value of the Girls Summit. Past teacher attendees describe the event as having creative activities; providing real world experiences; and offering new insight about industry careers and what manufacturing actually entails. One teacher commented, “Most of our students would consider a career in manufacturing as a result of attending the Girls Summit. And I feel we, as educators, are now better equipped to promote careers in the industry to our students.”

Manufacturers agree. “The Girls & Manufacturing Summit provides hands-on experience, which gives students an opportunity to practice creative problem-solving, strategic thinking, teamwork and other skills necessary not only in manufacturing but in so many aspects of life,” said Charles Daniels, chief financial officer, Wepco Plastics and AMEP Chair of Central Connecticut.

“Connecticut. Dream It. Do It., funded by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, has impacted thousands of students through the many innovative activities we run in partnership with manufacturers, schools and organizations statewide to raise awareness about the importance of manufacturing,” stated Stiles. “Showcasing the latest technologies through engaging events like the Girls Summit is key to attracting girls to the industry.”

To learn more about Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. Manufacturing Month and the Girls & Manufacturing Summit events go to ctdidi.com/mfgmonth.

About Connecticut. Dream It. Do It.

Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. is part of The Manufacturing Institute’s nationwide effort to create a positive image of manufacturing today and to develop an awareness of the variety of rewarding career opportunities it offers. Connecticut. Dream It. Do It. is taking the lead in enhancing Connecticut’s current and future manufacturing workforce pipeline. Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) licenses and leads Connecticut. Dream It. Do It.  Learn more at ctdidi.com.

About CCAT

Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in East Hartford, Conn., that creates and executes bold ideas advancing applied technologies, energy solutions, STEM education and career development, and export and cyber compliance. By leading state, regional, and national partnerships, CCAT helps manufacturers, academia, government and nonprofit organizations excel. Learn more at ccat.us, or follow CCAT on Twitter – @CCATInc

About Sacred Heart University

Sacred Heart University (SHU) is a coeducational, independent, comprehensive institution of higher learning rooted in the liberal arts and the Catholic intellectual tradition (CIT). Founded in 1963,  It is the second-largest Catholic university in New England and is considered an international leader in Catholic higher education Inspired by the ecumenical spirit of the Second Vatican Council, the University works to prepare its students to live in and make their contributions to the human community. Learn more at sacredheart.edu.

About the SHU Innovation Campus

SHU’s Jack Welch College of Business & Technology (WCBT), on the university’s West Campus, enrolls over 2,000 students.  Opened in Fall 2019, in the former world headquarters of General Electric (GE), the West Campus is designed as an Innovation Campus. It focuses on digital innovation and how it is transforming business in the 21st century.

The Innovation campus features state-of-the-art labs in a range of fields (artificial intelligence and machine learning, augmented reality/mixed reality, cybersecurity, computational finance, business analytics, motion capture and portable sound), as well as an 11,000-square-foot MakerSpace with equipment for 3D-scanning and printing, prototyping and characterizing new products. The site also includes a student start-up incubator, and an 8,000-square-foot co-working space. Learn more at SHU MakerSpace .