JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)—Research from the Manufacturing Institute says more than two million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled by 2030. These unfilled jobs could potentially cost the industry more than a trillion dollars.

In Jackson, one group is doing what they can to ignite a new spark in the next generation of workers at the Jackson Career Center. It’s part of what the center calls Machining U. It’s an educational program led by the Jackson Manufactures Association. The goal? To give kids the chance to receive some hands-on training from experts in the field like Bill Pogue.

“I always at the end of my career wanted that when I’m done and I get ready to retire, I’m going to try and get to go into the education and pass what I got onto others,” said Precision Machine Instructor at the Jackson Career Center, Bill Pogue.

The group of six instructors is teaching everything from blueprint reading, machinery, fabrication and welding. It’s something Pogue says is needed right now.

“We have all those people in the trades that are my age that are baby boomers that are retiring too on top of that, so we are really having a hard time replacing people in the trades. It’s difficult.”

They’re teaching eighth graders like Ethan Brown. He others are working to build a prototype of a solar car.

“It’s cool because we get to see the plasma cutter and we get to weld the car body together and then we get to assemble it and make the wheels,” said Brown.

Other teachers like Sylwia Sakolowski say they are seeing moments that show what they are doing is worth it every day.

“I’m a proud mama. I don’t have any kids but I watch them go from day 1 on the welding side. I watch them from day one doing little welds that are just you know not so well to day five and they are beautiful.”

It’s that spark in their eyes that they hope ignites a passion for a career in skilled trades.

“I hope they find something that they say wow this is a whole lot more fun than what I thought it would be you know I could see myself doing this. That’s what I hope they take away from this,” said Pogue.

The camp runs for the rest of the week\.

https://jacksonjama.org/