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Student manufacturing camp returns after two-year hiatus

| July 19, 2022
Students participating in this week's Dale Lauren Foland Manufacturing Camp got to try out an assembly system with representatives from Kurz Kasch among other activities. (WJER Radio)

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (July 19, 2022) – Dozens of students are spending the week learning about manufacturing and seeing the process in action. 

Seventy-two soon-to-be seventh and eighth-graders are participating in the fifth installment of the Tuscarawas County Dale Lauren Foland Manufacturing Camp hosted by Lauren International. Chief Operating Officer Mike Hovan says that’s a record for the camp that’s designed to introduce kids to the world of manufacturing and career opportunities within the industry.

“The objective is to kind of get that mindset moving out of what it is typically painted as a dirty, loud, smelly, messy career and that’s hardly the case with businesses in Tuscarawas County. It’s some of the most sophisticated, high-tech manufacturing you’ll find anywhere in the world, and we’re pretty proud of that and we want to show the kids that.”

The four-day camp got underway today (Tuesday) at Buckeye Career Center and concludes Friday afternoon with a graduation ceremony. Hovan says campers visit with representatives from four local production companies each morning, learning about what they do and participating in activities. Then after lunch, they hop onto a bus and tour two of those facilities. 

“Progressive Foam, Kurz-Kasch will be the tours for today. Allied Machine and Meteor Sealing Systems will be I believe either tomorrow or Thursday, and then Gradall and the Ohio Department of Transportation, which is a new sponsor for us this year, will be one day and then  KSU is on the last day.”

Kurz Kasch President Chad Merkel helped lead a session on advanced manufacturing where students got to try out an assembly system. He saw it as an opportunity to make an impression on kids who might eventually help lead the company.

“Take engineering, for example. It’s going to be one of the largest growing areas going forward. People like me you know in their 50s who will hopefully soon be retiring, and are going to be a lot of the job opportunities for the kids.” 

This is the fifth year of the camp that didn’t take place in 2020 or 2021 because of the pandemic. Hovan says the last one in 2019 was the largest in the state with 42 participants, and he doubts any of the others will be able to surpass this year’s number.

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