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It's Time for a "Scholastic Visit Program"
by Ted Mooney

We've posted hundreds of questions from college men & women, and honors program students where part of the answer to their question goes like this: "... but you really should start with a visit to a plating shop to get a feel for what is involved". But the students don't know where to look for a shop, nor what kind of shop they need to find. And if they do stumble onto an appropriate shop, their chance of making it past the telephone receptionist is near zero. In the end, the visit almost never happens.

Meanwhile, we in the industry bemoan the fact that our organizations are chronically ineffectual in attracting young people. We see students receiving programming from teachers but having no understanding of the reality of private enterprise today. We complain that the public has no idea how vital our industrial art is to their everyday life.

We can't afford to keep squandering this opportunity! Let's, today, start building a list of shops and laboratories a student can visit, what operations they can see there, and under what conditions they can visit. Let's have a clearinghouse -- one number a student can call or one e-mail address he/she can write to where a sympathetic ear will be turned toward arranging that plant visit. After the visit we can publish a paragraph or two about it and build some good public relations from it. And maybe the shop who welcomed the student will get a large order next year due to this friendship they built with the young person.

I'll be happy to serve as that sympathetic coordinator for now. If your shop would consider a student visit, please write to me, Ted Mooney <mooney@finishing.com>. Once we have the foundations of this program built I'd be happy to turn it over to AESF, if they are interested, to broaden it into a real route to introduce a substantial number of young people to our industry. -- TM


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