STIHL brings technology and robots to high school students

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — When you think about a job involving technology and robots, you might not think about a manufacturing career.  STIHL wants to change that with their 7th annual manufacturing technology summer camp this week.

Manufacturing isn’t what it used to be, at least not at STIHL.

“I’ve never seen some of that stuff in person before, so seeing it was pretty cool,” said high school senior Yoseph Woods.  “It actually made me want to go to school and learn more about programming robots.  That was pretty cool.”

The latest technology and robots fill the company’s Virginia Beach warehouse. 

“How the pistons were being built, how like the whole assembly line was being built, very awesome, you know, seeing that,” Woods said.  “It was definitely new to me.”

These high school students are taking part in STIHL’s manufacturing technology summer camp.

“They get to see what we do here, they get to see that you know, manufacturing isn’t this old, dungy, dirty job that most people remember,” said STIHL apprentice coordinator Skip Johnson.  

The camp brings high school students from across the state together to learn how to turn raw materials into finished goods — and it’s not always easy.

“Teamwork, working together, making the project as fast as you can with a little amount of money,” said Sadelle Schmitz, another camper.

The camp also shows the teens alternative options to college. 

“Going through an apprenticeship versus going through a four year program, we’ve run numbers and it’s about a $315,000 difference,” Johnson said.  

Plus, the industry is looking to hire.

“Companies, manufacturing, is just, they are screaming for skilled labor,” Johnson said.  “Here is a shortage of skilled labor out there.”

So getting these students interested early, may fill that gap.

“This will definitely help out with my future, you know, because my future is bright, so doing something like this will optimize my future,” Woods said.

The camp ends on Saturday with a manufacturing competition.  The students will build either a table lamp or a dome light.  Each member of the winning team will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

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