Tek2Go gives teenagers a hands-on look at advanced manufacturing

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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – Middle schoolers and high school students are learning about the ever changing world of advanced manufacturing as part of the annual ‘Tek2Go’ Camp.

The students are not only learning about the sheet metal fabrication process, but they are also getting hands on experience making their own clocks.

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10 years ago, the president of Hawkeye Industries,  Bryan Hawkins, helped start the “Tek2Go” camp as a way to show young people, and their parents, what the world of advanced manufacturing is all about.

“So the point is to expose these kids to technologies and techniques and processes their parents have never seen and get them exposed to this so maybe one day they will want to have a career in advanced manufacturing.  There’s so many different areas in manufacturing today, like here, it’s a clean environment, air-conditioned, not the dark, dirty environments of the past that maybe some of us can remember,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins, along with ICC and CDF, organize the summer camp.  Students are nominated by their teachers. Instructors believe the camp helps youngsters chart a course for their futures.

“The mindset of a lot of schools these days is to have kids go toward a four-year degree,  if kids go into a skilled trade, all these technologies, they can go through a two-year course, at ICC, it can be paid for , a lot of ways to have free two-year degree and go into a field making 50 , 60 thousand dollars a year,” said ICC Instructor Jerry Pettigrew.

Students say the camp is unique, holds their attention and is a lot of fun.

“I like doing hands on stuff, I thought this would be a great experience, to know what kind of stuff to expect when I get older,” said Tucker Hicks, of Mooreville.

“It helps me understand what I like, what I don’t like, things I might be interested in, things like that,” said Rachell Williams, of Guntown.

Tek2Go wraps up Friday with an awards ceremony.  The students also get to take home their clocks, which are made in the likeness of the Tupelo City Hall.

Next week, area teachers will become students in the “Tek2Go” camp.

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