Getting Kids Into Engineering

My name is David Smith I and I live in Columbus OH.  My date of birth is 1/11/1977  About 5 years ago I went back to school and earned my associates degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, which was a real accomplishment for me because I was always intimidated by going to college. I now work as a mechanical design engineer for a local fire truck manufacturing company.  I do all my design work with Solidworks, and I also have machining, welding and fabrication, and woodworking experience.  
     My dream project is to setup a workshop for  school kids, perhaps as an after school program.  The workshop would be a place where they could learn about how things are made.  I would like to start with autocad and Solidworks, to design their ideas, and a rapid prototype 3d printer to make usable items.  Eventually I would want to add wood and  metalworking tools.  Also, my goal would be to get industry professionals to volunteer their time to assist in teaching.  In addition I would try to get local companies involved who could recruit, mentor and possibly employ the kids coming through the program.  Imagine a kid who graduated from high school with good head start toward a technical career in manufacturing or engineering!!
     I have a passion for engineering and being creative. I am disheartened that many schools are dropping their shop programs over budgetary concerns, and I think that there are many kids who, if exposed, could fall in love with, and possibly choose a career in engineering and fabrcation.  I would also want to teach them that if that there are alternatives to a 4 year college degree, such as a 2 year technical degree or trade school, if they feel intimidated by college like I was.  There is a big need in today's workforce for people who are technically adept and know how to make things, and there are a lot of kids who may not know that they can harness their creative energy into a rewarding career.



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