By Krista Klaus

More than 50 high school students visited a trio of Lee’s Summit companies to learn first-hand about careers in the advanced manufacturing industry. The educational event coincided with National Manufacturing Day, which was created to inspire students to choose careers in modern manufacturing.

Tribune Photo/Joey Hedges
Students visit Polytainers Inc.

“This collaboration highlights Lee’s Summit’s strong educational ecosystem and the strategic collaborations that our partners have designed to help develop and prepare the workforce of the future,” said Jessica Hamilton, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s director of community and investor relations.

The event was made possible through a partnership between LSEDC, the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, and local manufacturers Polytainers Inc., IPL Plastics Inc., and ULTRAX Aerospace Incorporated.

“National Manufacturing Day is a great way to introduce students to the manufacturing career path,” said STA Principal Jeremy Bonnesen. “We appreciate the willingness of three of Lee’s Summit’s leading manufacturing companies to open their doors to local students who truly are the workforce of the future.”

More than 50 juniors and seniors from Summit Technology Academy (STA), Lee’s Summit West High School, Lee’s Summit North High School observed manufacturing processes in real-time while engaging with engineers, programmers, machinists, and tool makers to learn more about career paths in the advanced manufacturing field.

“When I heard about all the different things I could be doing in the field of manufacturing, I was pretty excited,” said STA Student Czar Camarillo Bryan, 16. “I feel like I could change the world. Once I find out how things are made, I hope to learn how to tweak the process to make a product even better.”

STA is located within the new Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC), a STEM-based educational collaboration between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College and the University of Central Missouri. MIC students obtain a bachelor’s degree in two years with little to no student debt, thanks to partnerships with the business community and community organizations.