Career designs: Specialty course prepares NHS students for jobs in advanced manufacturing


Advanced manufacturing might not seem like a riveting classroom topic, but Noblesville High School teacher Luke Wiseman wants to attract more students to a course designed to produce immediate post-graduation careers.

The school’s advanced manufacturing class was previously offered as a dual-credit course through Ivy Tech, but it became a separate course only offered through NHS this year to create more hands-on projects for students.

Wiseman said it’s difficult to convince students to take the class despite many available jobs in the advanced manufacturing industry.

“It’s a tough sell trying to get kids to go into manufacturing,” Wiseman said. “They have an idea what construction is or what transportation classes do a little bit, but nobody really has a great feel of what does it mean to be in manufacturing?”

Wiseman said the introductory class exposes students to different topics and provides opportunities for students to participate in internships with manufacturing companies in Noblesville. Twenty-five students are in Wiseman’s class this year.

“There are tons of (advanced manufacturing) jobs right here in Indiana that are available,” Wiseman said.

Wiseman said students can begin working full time for some companies right after high school graduation. He said some advanced manufacturing firms offer tuition reimbursement.

To encourage students to take the class, Wiseman tries to make the class more appealing by offering field trips. This year, students visited SMC Corp., where they were tasked to solve a real-life manufacturing problem with tools at their school, and Metro Plastics, where they learned about robotics.

Sophomore Talon Marsh is taking NHS’s advanced manufacturing class because he’s always been interested in building things.

“I like being able to do things myself and make things myself, and I figured that would be a good path to do it. I’ve learned a lot in that class,” said Marsh, who wants to go into the construction industry. “We have to come up with problems we have in our everyday lives and manufacture ourselves a solution to fix that problem.”

Marsh worked on solving the problem of not having a watering can at his home for his family’s plants.

“I used (3D design software) to design a nozzle that screws on to a 2-liter bottle so when you tip it over, it’s not just one giant waterfall,” he said. “It’s an even stream to evenly water plants. I was interested in construction and building, so this advanced manufacturing class I’m taking now is teaching me how to diagnose problems and solve problems and create things myself.”

The advanced manufacturing course, funded through a Duke Energy grant,  is offered through the Hamilton county career center for achievement.

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Students take a tour of SMC Corporation in Noblesville for the advanced manufacturing class. (Photo by Rachel Greenberg)

About the field trips 

During the SMC Corp. field trip, SMC engineers presented students with a prompt that guided them through the steps to solve a real-life customer problem. A statement from SMC said because of constraints at the end of the school year, the SMC team couldn’t judge the students’ solutions.

During the Metro Plastics field trip, staff took students on a tour of the manufacturing plant. Metro Plastics is building a new drone for a company that will provide participating schools with droid kits so students can make their own drone.