On Monday, October 3rd, students from around Northwest Georgia gathered at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy in Dalton to learn about Georgia’s manufacturing industry from the Center of Innovation for Manufacturing and some of the state’s most innovative young startups: Wish for Wash, Sumo Robot League, Synapse, Phoenix Rescue, and PhD student Chris Oberste, who is developing a new material science technology with Georgia Tech.
All of this took place to celebrate National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), which began as an effort to educate future generations on the possibilities of a prosperous career in today’s manufacturing industry.
With more than 9,300 manufacturing establishments employing nearly 370,000 workers and accounting for 92% of Georgia’s total exports, manufacturing has established itself as a critical piece of Georgia’s economy. With this large contribution to the state’s economy, there is a continued need for trained talent to support this industry.
Each startup gave a 10-minute presentation of their technology before the large group split into five smaller groups. Each smaller group moved to a breakout room with one of the startups, where they presented a real-life problem that needed solving. From here, the students worked with the entrepreneurs on innovative solutions to the issues the companies faced. They then presented their solutions to the startup, who chose what they found to be the most effective solution as their winner.
After reconvening for lunch, the winners from each startup group were presented to the large group. Their innovative problem solving netted answers as diverse as a rule-change and added attachments to battling robots (Sumo Robot League) to a solar-powered hand washing station (Wish for Wash).
Winning teams were given prizes from both the Center of Innovation for Manufacturing and Georgia Skilled Trade Initiative, which provides grants and scholarships to both students and teachers who pursue the skilled trades.
The event was a huge success with more than 100 students participating in solving real-world manufacturing issues as well as being introduced to the manufacturing industry as it exists today: a 21st Century, innovation-driven industry where real opportunities abound.