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Denver Office of Economic Development

Advanced Manufacturing Student Survey

Community Challenge/Problem

As one of its three agenda items, Denver’s Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Council (AMAC) rebranding group was developing an outreach plan for industry rebranding and marketing to Denver youth and job-seeking adults. At the onset, the Council members only had their own assumptions or anecdotal information about youth’s current perceptions on manufacturing. Over the course of the Council’s initial meetings, several options were identified to connect with Denver Public Schools students to obtain more quantitative data.

Board Solution/Innovation

At a Denver Public Schools career fair, OED obtained direct input from 8th grade students on their perceptions about manufacturing. Using an iPad to quickly capture responses, 92 students answered four questions. The questions supported the Council's efforts on messaging and “finding our industry voice.” The questions included: What is manufacturing? What would make manufacturing “cool?” Do you know anyone that works in manufacturing? Can you name one thing that is manufactured in Denver?

Outcomes & Results

The survey found:

1) Students understand that manufacturing is making what we use, although just a few connected computers with manufacturing or considered math as part of the equation.

2) One-third (31 students) saw manufacturing as “dirty, low paying jobs, or jobs no longer needed.”

3) Fifty-three students thought that “cool” is defined as learning or creating — although needing a specific type of training or education was not a cool factor.

4) Twenty-six students knew someone in manufacturing.

5) Only 15 students attempted to identify something “made in Denver” and most items weren’t actually related to manufacturing.

Overall, the process helped the Council better frame its work to educate students on how broad the industry is and expose them to potential career pathways.

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