MFG Women

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  • 1.  Makerspaces

    Posted 05-15-2019 18:34
    Boys saw things made and mechanical principles at play in the basement workshops of their dads and grandads. Today's public makerspaces can fill a similar role in a gender neutral way.  3-D printed objects sanded, sharpened, coated, polished, engraved using handheld tools.  Parts assembled into products.  New ideas tested out.  Can grandparents be recruited as volunteers?

  • 2.  RE: Makerspaces

    Posted 05-20-2019 09:40
    @Charles Orlowek- this is very interesting idea.  Can you expand on what grandparents would do - how do you envision the engagement?

    Tagging @Kevin Scott​​ for the tie-in to youth!​​

    AJ Jorgenson
    AVP, Strategic Engagement
    The Manufacturing Institute
    Washington DC

  • 3.  RE: Makerspaces

    Posted 05-21-2019 12:16
    Edited by Laura Szpot 05-21-2019 12:18
    ​It is not only boys that help their dads in the basement.  Fathers should include their daughters when they fix or make things.  I was my dad's chief helper ( I was also the oldest of 4 kids).  I knew what every tool in his tool box was and helped him fix plumbing and other things around the house.  When I was in HS I helped him finish the family cottage by dry walling, roofing, painting, laying flooring and many more things. We took turns hand driving pipe into the ground for the well.  I was never afraid to try anything because my dad helped me learn.  I won't say I can do all that by myself now, but I have a very handy husband which I help do remodeling.  Working in a man's world (Steelmaking) never intimidated me since my dad never treated me like a "girl".  I was expected to help him and my mom with household chores whether it be putting up a roof or cooking dinner for the family when my mom attended classes.  Parenting is where most of this starts but for those that don't have the parental involvement, encouragement to do things like Habitat for Humanity projects or other neighborhood improvement projects will give girls exposure to hands on work - which ultimately leads to manufacturing.

    Laura Szpot
    Manager, Routing and Applications
    AK Steel
    Middletown OH

  • 4.  RE: Makerspaces

    Posted 05-28-2019 01:08
    Makerspaces can start with 3D printing from digital design, and evolve into artistic spaces.  More relevant to manufacturing is an alternate path, to processing these printed parts -- polishing, coating, engraving, etc. -- plus integrating them with electrical and mechanical components and intelligent software.  Older volunteers with the right knowledge can help guide the work of teachers and librarians having little or no previous exposure to industry.  Such volunteers could be involved from planning through working with students on projects, robotics competitions, and other initiatives.  An expert on volunteering, Dan Merenda (former president of the National Association of Partners in Education) provided comments and benchmarks which I'll share by email.  Since the 1990s little has been written about senior volunteers, but one interesting resource can be accessed at