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The Next Generation for Manufacturing Competitiveness?: Children’s Perceptions as Shown Through Drawings

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Manufacturing Division Technical Session 2

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Liesl Klein Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Liesl Krause is a current Ph.D. student at Purdue University in the Polytechnic Institute. She is currently funded through the Purdue Doctoral Fellowship. She has research interests in student career perceptions and student mentorship in graduate school. Liesl graduated from Villanova University in 2016 with her Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering and graduated from Purdue University's Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in 2018 with her Master's.

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Greg J Strimel Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Greg J. Strimel is an assistant professor of engineering technology teacher education in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. His prior teaching experience includes serving as a high school engineering teacher and a teaching assistant professor within the College of Engineering & Mineral Resources at West Virginia University.

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A 2017 study from Deloitte notes that from 2015-2025 the United States (US) will face an estimated shortage of two million workers in the manufacturing industry. One of the main reasons for this gap is the negative perception the public holds towards manufacturing careers. In an attempt to change local perceptions of manufacturing, several manufacturers teamed together to create a summer camp for students grades K-8. Students participated in activities to teach them about manufacturing concepts and robotics in manufacturing, as well as tours of manufacturing facilities. Students participated in the “Draw-A-Manufacturer” test, based on the “Draw-A-Scientist” test. This test revealed students were, originally, more likely to see manufacturing as a black box system. However, after the summer camp, students seemed to understand that manufacturing is comprised of people who can assemble and create several items of use. Pre- and post- surveys were administered to the students at the start and end of the week-long camp. These surveys assessed student perceptions of safety, cleanliness, use of technology, creativity, need for skilled labor, and need for post-secondary education in manufacturing careers. Preliminary survey results show that many students saw manufacturing as a creative pursuit and considered it an interesting career path. However, perceptions of safety and cleanliness appeared mostly negative. Researchers believe this is because manufacturing environments are being introduced in a way that is more effective for adults rather than children. From these results, several recommendations for improving future summer camps and other manufacturing activities can be made; including training for staff and age-appropriate ways to introduce ideas of safety in manufacturing. Future manufacturing camps, expos, tours, and other activities can use these recommendations to continue to improve student perceptions of manufacturing.

Klein, L., & Strimel, G. J. (2019, June), The Next Generation for Manufacturing Competitiveness?: Children’s Perceptions as Shown Through Drawings Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33410

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