Woodward Educational Tours

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Some Rockford High School students got a jump start on their future careers Friday. Several teenagers toured the Woodward facility on North Second Street to see if they might want to work there at after graduating.

Tours through Woodward this week are more than just field trips. Managers there are trying to recruit future hires.

"Hopefully when they get out of school maybe we'll provide job opportunities or job shadowing," says Jeff Sherman, a production manager at Woodward.

Because of several layoffs there's a declining number in people applying for jobs in manufacturing, so Woodward is working with area high schools and Rock Valley College to get kids interested in manufacturing.

"We want to show kids what's available and for some of the kids it might be their path," says Mark Sargent, a technology teacher at Auburn High School.

Most of the high school students are more than happy to tour Woodward.

"It's cool to get out of school. All kids are gonna like that," says Michael Kinney, a high school student.

Some of the kids are genuinely interested in manufacturing.

"This would be nice because a lot of young people are into technology and computers and stuff, so it would be an easy path to follow and be a nice career too," says Imran Khan, also a high school student.

Rock Valley College is offering opportunities to students who want to pursue a career in manufacturing. They can take college courses related to manufacturing there while they're still in high school.

"These are technical jobs in manufacturing. They're well paying jobs, we have great benefits here and opportunities for educational reimbursement," says Sherman.

Managers hope students who enroll in the manufacturing classes at RVC will apply at Woodward after they graduate.