Gates Corp., a global diversified manufacturer of industrial and automotive products, has been recognized as the Denver Public School’s (DPS) CareerSpark Partner of the Year. The CareerSpark Industry Exploration Program partners with Denver businesses to expose middle school students to professional work environments and inspires them to consider careers in STEM industries.
Gates was honored at the DPS CareerConnect Partnership Recognition Breakfast last month in Denver, and was nominated for its work in developing and hosting a customized curriculum for middle school students. Over the years, the company has recognized a growing need for skilled manufacturing workers in the United States and other industrialized countries. With the goals of addressing this need, supporting its manufacturing partners, and the manufacturing industry in general by introducing young people to the benefits of the various careers available in manufacturing, Gates developed the “Empowering Creators” program.
Karis Morrall, communications and partnerships manager for the DPS CareerConnect program, commented, “The awards committee was very impressed by the thoughtful, engaging workshop that Gates held for our middle school students.”
Working with the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (CAMA) throughout the 2016 school year, the program has hosted more than 200 7th and 8th grade students at the company’s Englewood, Colorado, technical laboratory facility. During the all-day workshops, students took active roles in developing solutions to real manufacturing challenges related to engineering design, procurement, marketing, finance and production with positive results. One student wrote, “Thank you for allowing us to have the experience that we did, it opened a lot of new possible career choices for me.”
“Exposing these diverse groups of students to the different career pathways the manufacturing sector has to offer was an extremely rewarding experience,” said Cindy Cookson, director global product lines and chair of the Gates “Empowering Creators” committee. The program shows younger students that manufacturing is a good option as a career choice before career planning starts in high school. It also is easily duplicated for implementation in other communities.