Since 2014, the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce has bussed Washington County students on the first Friday of October to local manufacturing companies to celebrate Manufacturing Day as part of its School to Career program.
It's an opportunity for students to meet with people working in the manufacturing industry and explore careers in STEM fields.
This year, the event is moving online due to the coronavirus pandemic, offering more than $5,000 in prizes and scholarships to students and teachers who participate virtually Friday, Oct. 2.
"Now, more than ever, anything we can do to help people get inspired, think about the future and make plans is incredibly valuable and appreciated," said Heather Ferrin-Myers, director of the chamber's School to Career program, in a statement. "Programs like Manufacturing Day get students excited about the many dimensions of the field."
All Washington County students and teachers are encouraged to participate in virtual and video programming from local companies, which will share their work with participants.
The event is supported by presenting sponsor Lam Research, a semiconductor company with a manufacturing facility in Tualatin and offices in Hillsboro and Tualatin. Other sponsors include platinum sponsor Applied Materials, gold sponsors Edwards Vacuum and Jireh Semiconductor Inc., and META FAB Inc. and TOSOH.
Ten scholarships will be awarded to participants in total, including five $500 cash awards for students and five $500 cash awards for teachers. Additionally, several $25 gift cards will be awarded, simply for participation, the chamber said.
To apply for scholarships, students and educators will be asked to prepare a written or video essay expressing how exploring the Manufacturing Day website and its various career video presentations have inspired them.
"Applicants are also encouraged to define where they think they might fit in to a manufacturing career in the future — and to provide insight as to how might they use the $500 award to further pursue their interests in STEM," the chamber said.
The deadline for the scholarship application is Nov. 6.
Manufacturing Day also coincides with Manufacturing Month during all of October.
In 2019, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation officially recognizing Manufacturing Day.
"There is an increasing demand for skilled professionals in the manufacturing sector who can design, program, build, and operate technology," the chamber said. "Manufacturing careers are a vital part of our local economy, and by participating, the chamber continues to support regional builders, makers, and creators."
In December 2019, manufacturing businesses in Oregon employed almost 197,000 people. Hillsboro is home to more than 13% of those jobs.
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