Jonesboro, ARK: June 11, 2021--Summer camp, without the bugs!
TekStarz, Jonesboro's summer manufacturing camp, finished an exciting week on June 11th. Thirteen Jonesboro-area 7th and 8th graders spent three days with Jonesboro Unlimited and Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce staff getting a behind-the-scenes look at the world of manufacturing and technology.
"TekStarz helps these students get an idea of the multitude of careers that are possible in the world of manufacturing and technology and that all of those jobs are right here in Jonesboro," said Shelle Randall, Jonesboro Unlimited's Director of Workforce Development and Existing Industry.
The camp also included a virtual tour of Jonesboro's Unilever facility, Arkansas State University-Newport's Jonesboro campus, and a safety demonstration from Howell Safety and Training Solutions.
From watching laser-cutters in action at Best Manufacturing to working with fiber-optic cable at Ritter Communications, campers' eyes opened to the broad spectrum of careers that are available to them in the future.
"I've learned that there's more to manufacturing than I thought," Valley View student Arturo Fuentes said. "I found there are more opportunities in manufacturing."
"You can see those young minds at work saying, 'I want to do that someday,'" Randall said. "It's exciting to see the students make those connections between their interests and how those interests could turn into a great career in the future."
That's the drive behind TekStarz. It's a summer camp disguised, in a way, as workforce development and talent retention.
"Our goal is to start developing our workforce before these students get to college," Randall said, "By making the students aware of the amazing career opportunities in manufacturing and technology now can help them seek out classes and opportunities that nurture that curiosity."
This week's camp was the 8th year for TekStarz, which began in 2013. 10-15 campers have taken part each year except in 2020.
If you know of a 7th or 8th grader who you think would be an excellent fit for our next TekStarz camp, you can contact Shelle Randall at Jonesboro Unlimited for more information.