Manufacturing Day: Austin College and Career Academy Residency

Thanks to our Chicago Community Trust Acting Up Awards Grant, we were able to bring our Design and Manufacturing Residency to the high school students at Austin College and Career Academy. Manufacturing Day is a big deal at ACCA as they are one of the last CPS schools teaching a full manufacturing curriculum. This education is provided through Manufacturing Connect, a program of Manufacturing Renaissance.

The DesignHouse team and mentors presented over 20 students with a full program focusing on manufacturing, including careers in manufacturing, and Design Thinking. Through engaging activities, students explored what it means to design a product: - What does the design say about the way it works? Who is it for? Our partner, Skill Scout (an innovative manufacturing job connector) provided a dynamic presentation about modern-day careers in manufacturing, including what it is really like to work in a factory and the skill sets needed to get a good paying job. Design and Manufacturing are becoming more linked and so these conversations help students better understand career opportunities at each stage of the product creation process.

Taking the students through the Jam process, we explored how they could design new lighting concepts out of sheet metal. Design Mentors took students through ideation and prototyping to help them understand how to come up with creative ideas then narrow them down into actionable concepts that solve real problems. Finally, each student group presented their ideas to the entire group.

ACCA students, DesignHouse and Mentors who participated in the program

ACCA students, DesignHouse and Mentors who participated in the program

It was very exciting to see how engaged the students were in the Design Thinking sheet metal challenge. One girl said, “I wish this was happening for real!”

We are excited to bring our Design and Manufacturing Residency to more high school students in the coming year.