This summer for the eighth year in a row, my office has partnered with local companies and organizations to host manufacturing camps for 4th through 8th graders across Ohio.

Obviously, this year is going to look different. When it became clear that this pandemic would be with us through the summer, our office went to work, reaching out to organizers across the state, and gauging interest for moving these camps online.

This year, we’ll have at least four virtual camps in three counties. Camps are scheduled to take place in Knox, Richland and Mahoning Counties.

We know how challenging remote learning can be, and that not all communities and organizations are set up well for virtual events – but for those who are able, we want to keep connecting students with all the opportunities available to them in this industry.

That’s why we started these camps in the first place.

When too many students and parents hear the word “manufacturing,” they think about dirty, dusty old jobs, and the outdated, offensive term “rust belt,” that demeans our workers and devalues their work.

But today’s Ohio factories aren’t rusty – they’re innovative and high-tech, and will create the good-paying jobs of the future.

This pandemic is also proving how crucial STEM skills are to the future of our economy. Campers will be able to connect online with mentors in manufacturing and STEM careers, and collaborate virtually with other students in their community. The camps give kids an opportunity to explore a number of different careers in these fields - one of the camps in the Mahoning Valley will focus on biomedical engineering. 

Last year we held 27 camps in 21 counties, and before this public health crisis, we were on track to surpass those numbers. Next year we plan to top that, and have campers touring plants around Ohio once again. My hope is for all of our students to see the many Ohio manufacturing opportunities out there, and to get excited about their futures.

To find a camp near you and find out how kids can sign up, visit my website,