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NC STEM camp inspires the next generation of workers

Greensboro's Core Technology Molding Corporation makes plastic parts. They're also using a non-profit to mold future STEM workers.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — With thousands of new jobs coming to the Triad in the coming years, some companies are starting to think about how to grow the workforce.

Toyota and Boom Supersonic are two of the major employers looking to hire. Many of the jobs are rooted in STEM, science, technology, engineering and math.

Greensboro's Core Technology Molding Corporation makes plastic parts for companies like Volvo, Mack Trucks, BMW and HAECO. They're also using a non-profit to mold future STEM workers.

"In the classroom, they work on projects but I don’t think they get to see the correlation with advanced manufacturing," CEO Geoff Foster said. "We are really targeting students from underrepresented groups who have an interest in STEM."

The company finished its second summer session of the Molding Kids for Success STEM Camp.

The students do experiments and classwork but they also get to go out on the manufacturing floor as they learn about the products Core Technology makes and the science behind them.

"Not enough children are getting exposed to STEM and there’s not really enough in the curriculum that teaches them there’s a lot of things that are created through injection molding," Engineer Brandon Fredrick said. "The opportunities are really endless."

Foster started the company 16 years ago and teaches Applied Engineering Technology at NC A&T University. He describes Fredrick as one of his top students over the years who went on to work for him and is now directing the STEM Camp.

"Education is my passion. I get the chance to educate and mentor these children at the same time," Fredrick said.

One of those campers is 12-year-old Carlos Gainey who is starting Eighth Grade with goals to match his passion for science.

"Everything we did this week is so exciting to me because I want to be the future CEO of Apple," Gainey said. "This camp has made me realize that my time is limited and I have to get to it or I will be left behind. It made me focus more on my studies and especially math."

Foster hopes students like him will come back as interns or employees in the future. He said they may also find their way to other advanced manufacturers.

"With Toyota and Boom coming here, I think they were going to be some great opportunities for students graduates of STEM," Foster said. "They are going to have an abundance of opportunities."

Molding Kids for Success is planning a Women in STEM camp with all girl campers and led by women in the industry.

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