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NASA Glenn Attracts Students to Manufacturing Careers  

Students learn about the fine details of machining with NASA Glenn Research Center’s Chris Metro, center.
Credit: NASA/Sara Lowthian-Hanna 

There are currently more than 600,000 openings for manufacturing jobs in the United States, according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor. That number could rise to about 2.1 million vacancies or open jobs by the year 2030 if more efforts are not made to attract and retain workers with specialized skills. 

In September, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland hosted “Manufacturing Day,” an annual event for high school students to learn how teams of engineers, researchers, and technicians work together to design and prototype aeronautics and space hardware at NASA.  

Students tour NASA’s Glenn Research Center Manufacturing Facility with Glenn’s Matt Conley, right.
Credit: NASA/Sara Lowthian-Hanna 

Manufacturing Day is designed to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world applications, fostering a deep appreciation for manufacturing and its pivotal role in driving economic growth and societal progress. Students participated in a career discussion, toured world-class facilities, and joined in hands-on activities, including robotics and virtual and augmented reality. 

Gavin Custer, an Educational Program Specialist in NASA Glenn’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM), said interest in this annual event was so high this year that OSTEM plans to host the event two more times to serve more than 300 students from Northeast Ohio.  

Students compete in a “Straw Truss” Engineering Design Challenge with NASA Glenn Research Center’s Roger Storm, right.
Credit: NASA/Sara Lowthian-Hanna

“This was the first year hosting Manufacturing Day at NASA Glenn since 2019, and I’m so grateful for the turnout,” Custer said. “The students had a great time interacting with NASA’s staff during the engineering design challenge and while touring our Manufacturing Facility.” 

In an era defined by technological advancement and industrial innovation, the need to cultivate a skilled and motivated workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is paramount. NASA Glenn’s Manufacturing Day is dedicated to igniting passion for STEM disciplines among local public high school students.