Student-run Manufacturing Is Open For Business

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Lion Manufacturing recently filled their first order, manufacturing radar support brackets to be used by the United States Navy. What makes this story interesting is the fact that Lion Manufacturing is owned and operated by high school students.

Lion Manufacturing, at Loogootee High School in Martin County is one of two manufacturing companies launched recently in southern Indiana. Together with Eagle Manufacturing at Brown County High School in Nashville, these companies are the result of grants from Bloomington-based non-profit Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI). Working with local manufacturing businesses, ROI designed their program to give students real-world, hands-on experience running a manufacturing company.

ROI Chief Executive Officer said, “ The partners actually provide projects in addition to advising them on how they’ve actually set up their student-run business. I really want to be clear, these are truly student businesses. Every aspect of this business is being run by a student with the guidance, obviously, of a faculty person. But the partnership with local business allows them to actually take in the work. So, business will come to them and say, ‘Would you make this part for us?’ and, quite honestly, it’s quite a host of different types of projects.”

Eagle manufacturing began the 2018-2019 school year with 23 students-employees, working in their engineering, design, and CNC manufacturing departments. Lion Manufacturing has 13 students from the school’s engineering, manufacturing, art and business departments. Working with established, local shops the students take in new jobs and with oversight and training from the school, the students will fill the order.

“Within Eagle Manufacturing, we are teaching not only the skills that are necessary to run world-class machinery, but we are also intentionally teaching the skills and dispositions needed to be a thoughtful and collaborative co-worker in a modern place of business,” said Laura Hammack, superintendent of Brown County Community Schools. “Students engaged in the program will exit life ready for a variety of post-secondary options available in the region.”

One of the partner manufacturing companies is Loughmiller Machine Tool and Design, which happens to be run by two by Loogootee High School graduates, proving that introducing students to manufacturing is an excellent path to a rewarding career in manufacturing.