JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Teaching the next generation of creative minds one screw at a time. That’s what Kelly Kofflin and the Jackson non-profit, The Shop Rat Foundation are working to do through hands-on training for kids in the community.
“Jackson is very manufacturing heavy, it’s very manufacturing rich so, by giving these opportunities to students we are not only ensuring that they have a competitive advantage towards their future career, but we are also helping support our local community and making sure that our companies have the workforce that they need moving forward,” said the non-profit’s Executive Director, Kelly Kofflin.
New research from the National Manufacturing Association says more than two million manufacturing jobs are expected to go unfilled by 2030. These unfilled jobs could potentially cost the industry more than a trillion dollars.
“Unless we address this younger generation. That’s not going to lessen,” said Kofflin.
Thomas Miller came through the program, and like many his age at first, everything was new to him.
“Just learning how to work with machines and stuff. I came in here with no clue how to weld. I kind of had a little bit of background with construction. I had no background with machining. However, with the program I have learned to become great at all of them,” said Miller.
Now Miller says he’s going to be an electrician, but before that happens he’s working hand in hand to teach other kids what this program taught him. They’re lessons he says are paying off already.
“I’m the tech guy at our house now whenever you need help someone comes to me with their questions.”
Kofflin says it’s about seeing the light bulb moments when everything clicks.
“Really gain an understanding and have a fun time doing it. It’s nice to see them spending their time in a way that they’re getting something positive out of their future and having a good time.”
For ways you can get involved, click here.