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Ivy Tech summer camp sparks interest in manufacturing

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Victoria is a sixth-grader in Warsaw who has big plans for her future.

"I want to be a robotics engineer," said Victoria Heimbach.

She's one of seven kids taking part in a summer camp hosted by Ivy Tech and Warsaw schools. The hope is that young kids will develop an interest in the manufacturing industry.

"What we were hoping to do with the summer camp was to get people interested at a younger age," said Director of Advanced Manufacturing Orthopedic and Training Center Tom Till. "A lot of people don't know what manufacturing is."

The kids, aged sixth through eighth grade, design their own model cars using computers. Then they print the cars on a 3-D machine.

"The amazing thing to me is that they aren't afraid of the technology," said Till.

The 3-D printer spits out plastic sheets one-layer at a time. The sheets eventually morph together into a plastic car. The whole printing process takes 20 hours for just one car.

Victoria pointed towards her car: "Behold the caterpillar."

Till says exposing kids to manufacturing will hopefully bring more jobs to the local economy in years to come.

"One of the fears that we have is now that the baby boomers are starting to retire, we're going to see a real void in the number of people that are able to go in and fill those jobs," said Till.

He says Warsaw's strong orthopedic manufacturing presence is constantly in need of more young people.

"I get calls from local employers, asking us, begging us to send graduates over," said Till. "We wish we had more; it's a local problem."

At the end of the week, Victoria and her fellow campers will race their cars to see whose design is fastest and most original.

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