Sometimes it feels to me like getting the next generation of kids interested in the mundane business of making stuff (i.e., manufacturing) is like bailing the ocean with a teaspoon. How ya gonna get 'em on the factory floor when what they really want to do is design video games, play major-league sports or be t.v. stars? Making up for nearly 40 years of cutting back on "trade school" education, dissing manufacturing as dirty, dark and dangerous and teaching our kids that they're all "above average" and better than that is going to take some time--time that may be running out.
Then I trip over something like this. Siemens has an awesome STEM page. Sure, not every kid is going to be interested or do well with something like this, but every one who does discover the joy of making things work and figuring things out is one more that might be part of the next generation of badly needed manufacturing experts.
Good for Siemens.
I'm sure there are lots of other companies out there doing this sort of thing (National Instruments comes to mind). If you know of any, let us know. They need all the publicity and support they can get.
Also, since this is National Engineers Week, find a kid and take them to a working factory or a science museum or to somebody's workshop or a lab. Or grab their computer and make them go here. They're not going to know about this stuff unless we tell them.