VPI to Host One of First NBT Inclusion Manufacturing Camps


VPI is set to host one of the first national NBT Inclusion Manufacturing Camps from July 25-August 19.

The NBT Inclusion Camp, hosted by VPI, presented by Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF) and Nestle USA, is a 4-week long manufacturing camp for individuals with disabilities age 16 and over. During the camp, VPI staff will facilitate interactive activities designed to improve “soft” skills, help individuals gain confidence in their abilities, and explore careers in various manufacturing environments. Participants will also participate in paid work experience on a variety of VPI production lines to develop the “hard” skills needed for these manufacturing jobs. The program is fully funded by MEAF and Nestle USA, so there is no cost to participants.

This innovative opportunity was brought to VPI by the Nuts, Bolts, & Thingamajigs Foundation (NBT), the Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. NBT has a long, successful history of offering summer manufacturing camps for individuals ages 12-16. As employers look to be more creative with ways to fill their workforce needs and close skills gaps, training individuals with disabilities to do these jobs is a viable option.

In March 2022, the labor force participation rate for individuals with disabilities was 37.8% with an unemployment rate of 9.8%, while the labor force participation rate for individuals without a disability was 77.2% with an unemployment rate of 3.6% (Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics). Individuals with disabilities are available, ready to enter the workforce, and capable of making an impact. Current NBT Summer Manufacturing Camps have shown that they increase awareness of career options and jobs available in manufacturing, including those in their local community by 82% at the end of the camp (NBT Program Impact Study, 2020).

In summer 2022, the first two NBT Inclusion Camps will take place in Appleton, WI at VPI, and in River Grove, IL at Triton College. The goal of these camps is to help train and prepare young adults with disabilities for employment in manufacturing, while also showing local employers that this group of individuals is a viable option to meet their workforce demands.

“VPI is all about promoting inclusion and innovative workforce solutions to our Fox Cities community. The partnership with NBT and the Inclusion Camp is a great way to show both individuals with disabilities and employers that the individuals we work with can make a significant impact on their workforce needs and increase inclusion in our community,” said Megan Gerl, Director of Mental Health and Education at VPI.

If you know a student who would like to participate, please fill out an application, due June 30. Here’s how to apply:

*APPLICATIONS CLOSED

  1. Virtual application: https://forms.gle/YAtxyNE9CfaPNCGH8
  2. Mail application: Mail your application to VPI, 2730 N. Roemer Rd. Appleton, WI 54911, or email to VPI’s Director of Mental Health and Education, Megan Gerl, at mgerl@vpind.com

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