Welding helmet and flame

Put Your Welding Helmet On! The Future of Manufacturing is Bright.

Jan 8, 2024 | events

We recently got a glimpse into the future of manufacturing, and we’re happy to say that the future looks bright! 

In connection with Ottawa Counties Careerline Tech Center, students from Zeeland High School’s engineering program came to visit our shop where we gave them a behind-the-scenes look at how we take raw steel and turn it into components for machines. 

They got a first-hand look at how a company like ours — a fabrication shop — functions in real life. Many of them expected it to be dark, dingy, and dirty, but that definitely wasn’t the case. 

The Fabrication Work Environment Exceeds Expectations

Overall, the students were surprised. Being on-site changed their perception of what working in the manufacturing industry is like. The facility is clean, well-lit, and safe — there’s even air conditioning in the summer. They saw people collaborating, being creative, and using critical thinking skills to complete projects. Manufacturing goes beyond just making the same part 10,000 times over.  

“What’s really neat is we were able to highlight how we bring young people in and then help pay for their schooling if there’s specific degrees or certifications that they want to pursue while they’re working. The questions these young people bring are impressive, too,” said Ross Haan, the president of Impact Fab. 

For many, it was their first look inside a fabrication shop. From seeing the laser cutter in action to watching someone weld, to experiencing the brake press in action — the students were able to walk around and see all of the possibilities a fabrication shop can offer.

Local schools like Zeeland and West Ottawa high schools have invested in education for the skilled trades. Also, the Career Line Tech Center, which “prepares students for tomorrow’s workforce” is doing great work training students as well. 

Students in fabrication shop

A Glimpse of our Future

The tech center has been open since 1977 and as of today, they have over 1,400 students enrolled in 28 different career and technical education programs. Certifications can be earned in classes like Engineering, Mechatronics/Robotics, Healthcare, and Web & Game Development. 

We want to inspire their students to pursue a career in manufacturing and raise awareness that you don’t need a four-year degree to do this. We’re partnering journeymen with entry-level folks to train and pass along knowledge. 

The demand for these educational programs is encouraging. In West Michigan, the future is bright. We’ve got smart students who want to be in the skilled trades. They will fill the pipeline with the next generation of manufacturers. 

If you would like to inquire about booking a tour with Impact Fab, simply contact us here and we will reach out to you