Despite heavy rains and power outages in our area, Fairbury Skills USA students traveled to SCC in Lincoln Nebraska for their annual Fall Leadership Conference.
The purpose of the conference is to kick off another year and to give students ideas and to make friends all while developing a new skill. It is here that they start thinking about what they want to study. What skill do they want to pursue?
Sixteen students took part in early morning breakout sessions. Students learned about leadership, fundraising, how to write resumes, and communication skills. Advisors also had a meeting and discussed new changes coming down the pipe.
Students each received a conference T-shirt with industry sponsors on the back. It is these sponsors that give students opportunities with scholarships, prizes and help with the State Leadership Conference later in the year.
Fairbury students also could sign up for industry tours. We went on a nice tour of Kawasaki. Kawasaki has over 2 million square feet of space under one roof. Students got to see most of the processes used in manufacturing. They witnessed robots that weld, position parts, move heavy objects or even paint parts. A new dipping process was observed where any picture can be dip coated and adhered to the fenders. The process works where a thin film of the graphic material is floated on a tank of water. A technician then fine tunes the location of the film on the water’s surface. A robot then dips the part and the image is bonded to the part.
Kawasaki is a big plant. They have over 200 employees. We saw people riding bikes in the factory it was so big to get from one place to another. It was amazing to see all the people and departments. Kawasaki makes speed train cars, motorcycles, jet skis, 4 wheeler ATV’s, and even has an aerospace division. We didn’t have time to go into the part of the plant that makes the wheels. Kawasaki makes wheels for many other companies like Honda, John Deere, Suzuki and many more. I thought it was neat when one student asked why they built the plant in Lincoln, Nebraska. He said it was central to the United States, it had good roads close by and train rails. The most important reason was that in the Midwest, we have the best workers.
Students learned about many jobs available at the plant and what skills those workers should have. They also learned that welders are in high demand. One must be at least 18 years of age to get a job. One can apply right on line. Students that have a two-year degree are more apt to land a good job. They spoke of good qualities that workers should have such as being dependable and being a hard worker. Students got to see a museum in the plant of many of the motorcycles, jet skis, and ATV’s that Kawasaki produced dating back to the early 80’s.