Company hopes to inspire young people through high school internships and student tours

PMG PHOTO: KIVA HANSON - The students watch how a plastic extruder makes various parts and seals for the unloader.

A group of Culver High School students toured the bustling factory at KEITH Manufacturing, showing them all the steps and jobs involved in their finished product, the WALKING FLOOR unloader.

The students toured the welding, plastics, packaging and fabricating sections of the factory, hearing about the various jobs each team completes, and PMG PHOTO: KIVA HANSON - The students watch how a plastic extruder makes various parts and seals for the unloader. the path they took to get there.

"There's lots of paths people take before they get here," said Brian Gregory, a materials manager. "There's lots of room for career growth, and we want to show that. If you've got a good attitude and you're ready to learn, we've got a place for you."

The about 40 students donned safety glasses during their tour, where they got a close, hands-on look at the machines and processes involved.

"It's cool to see all the things they do here, and see how it all gets made," said Culver High student Alicia Monagas.

The tour is part of an initiative with local schools to support students interested in careers in manufacturing and other vocational trades. As part of this, KEITH has also long supported a high-school internship program. The program, started in 2011 as part of the Jefferson County Education Council.

The students come from Culver and Madras High Schools and work about four hours a week rotating through areas of the plant to learn about welding, assembly and machining. They receive internship or credit hours for their time. Many student interns have been hired at KEITH after their graduation.

"It's important for kids to see what is possible, and what they can do right here in their community," said KEITH Manufacturing president Lindsey Foster-Drago. "KEITH is a family company and a community, and we want to continue to be a part of the community and support students as they decide their path."

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