15 Iowa libraries, museums receive grants to help "Elevate" advanced manufacturing

July 29, 2014

Fifteen Iowa Libraries and Museums Receive Grants to Help “Elevate” Advanced Manufacturing

For Immediate Release – July 29, 2014

Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, a statewide outreach campaign to promote careers and training in advanced manufacturing, has announced that 15 public libraries and museums will receive funds to implement programming that educates young people and their parents about the varied career opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

“Dirty Jobs television star Mike Rowe emphasized during his recent visit to Cedar Rapids that Iowa has a lot of really great, high paying jobs in advanced manufacturing,” said Mike Ralston, President of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. “These jobs promise great futures for our young people, both because they pay well and because they provide a great quality of life in Iowa communities.”

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2011 the average manufacturing worker made $77,060 annually including pay and benefits, while the average worker in other industries earned $60,168.

Despite the high paying jobs, however, Iowa is experiencing a workforce shortage that is preventing Iowa companies from meeting industry demand for their products. By 2018, in fact, the projection is that there will be a shortage of 6,678 skilled workers in Iowa.1 “These threats to our Iowa companies also threaten our communities and our state from an economic development perspective,” said Paul Gregoire, Vice President, Global Human Resources for Emerson Process Management in Marshalltown.

School Counselor Karin Leveke, of Humboldt Elementary Schools, explained that most kids are simply not exposed to the kinds of jobs that are in high demand today. “Kids know what their parents do for work; they have experience with teachers and doctors; and they know what they see around them in their communities or on television: police, fire fighters, construction workers. We have to work to expose them to other careers and as a school counselor, I feel responsible for doing so, particularly if students have the aptitudes to pursue careers where they can earn a great living wage without incurring a lot of educational debt in the process.”

“Advanced manufacturing is not just for people who like to ‘work with their hands’,” said Lori Schaefer-Weaton, President of Agri-Industrial Plastics in Fairfield, Iowa. “It’s for people who can think critically and who have great problem solving skills. It’s also for those of us who want to leave at the end of a day knowing we’ve done an honest day’s work and that we have helped create a product that people need. Our employees also feel good knowing that their work contributes not only to their own family’s livelihood but to the health of their communities.”

One of the ways Elevate exposes kids to careers in advanced manufacturing is by supporting public libraries and museums’ efforts integrate hands-on creative activities into their programming. “Elevate goes wonderfully along with other STEM initiatives that libraries like ours are engaged with,” Beth Reineke, Assistant Director of the Estherville Public Library. “We have great support from our area manufacturers whose employees will be volunteering their time to help our young patrons with their projects.”

The following is the list of libraries and the projects their $500.00 grant will support:

African American Museum Iowa – An interactive exhibit about African Americans influential in manufacturing, starting with George Washington Carver.

Burlington Public Library – A robotic LEGO club for grades 2-6 using WeDo Lego kits.

Cedar Falls and Waterloo Public Libraries - Workshops for tweens and teens using littleBits (electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping).

Elma Public Library - A monthly LEGO & Goldie Blox Club featuring different manufacturing themes.

Estherville Public Library – A “Tinker Tuesdays” after-school program using Snap Circuit kits and KEVA plank sets.

Fonda Public Library – A LEGO program for children ranging from simple Duplo building blocks to Klutz LEGO Crazy Action Contraption kits with gears and and axles.

Gibson Public Library - A project-based program to help students learn about and experiment with the skills needed in advanced manufacturing.

Griswold & Lewis Public Libraries – A LEGO Club collaboration between Griswold and Lewis Public Libraries for boys and girls 9-14.

Iowa Transportation Museum - A "Transportation YOU" career program to introduce students to advanced manufacturing jobs, including high tech opportunities related to transportation and logistics.

Orange City Library - A LEGO program focused on the construction of objects in their community to promote better understanding about how things are built.

Pella Public Library - A manufacturing-career focused LEGO program utilizing volunteers from area companies with a special emphasis on encouraging girls to get involved.

Sheffield Public Library - A LEGO program for K-6 focused on demonstrating how interesting and complex manufacturing can be.

Sloan Public Library - A robotics program to introduce youth to science, math and computer programming, as related to advanced manufacturing. Also featuring guest speakers.

The Sawmill Museum - An interactive kiosk showcasing changes in advanced manufacturing along the Mississippi River in the Gateway area. The kiosk will include videos, games, websites, pictures and maps.

All of the grantees are collaborating with their local community colleges and with local advanced manufacturers on their program.

To find out more about Elevate and the library and museum programs being funded by these Elevate grants, visitwww.elevateiowa.com.