Manufacturers to Celebrate the White House Week of Making In June

3d printed shipsIf you’re invested in manufacturing, you’ve probably heard the term “maker culture” thrown around, particularly in the last few decades. However, even if you’ve heard it, maybe you’re not quite sure what that means.

After all, even Forbes’ definition is pretty elusive. “Maker culture, like any social phenomenon, is something not easily defined. While it has all of the qualities of a cultural movement, it means different things to different people, represents different values according to the situation to which it is applied, and can result in vastly different business models, products, and philosophies from company to company.” Hmm… where can you go from there?

In reality, an emphasis on “makers” is one of the most important components of our cultural environment today. It’s the same spirit that turned Distefano from a tool & die shop into one of the leading suppliers of fabricated metal components and precision tooling in the Midwest, fabricating more than 1,000 different metal components for various industries thanks to our rock solid reputation in the region. In short, it’s an ethos of exploration, curiosity, and common sense.

The third White House Week of Making will be held from June 17-23. Now, the week of making isn’t the same as National Manufacturing Month, but widens the category to more broadly honor “makers”: “U.S. Makers are developing new solutions and products to pressing challenges, by not only engaging students in hands on, interactive learning of STEM, arts, and design, but also by enabling non-student individuals to learn new skills in design, fabrication, and manufacturing.”

So, the Week of Making asks makers to share their involvement by using social media and including the hashtags #NationOfMakers and #WeekofMaking to show what they’re working on. Maker culture celebrates the process of learning through doing, kind of like we tend to see in apprenticeship or mentorship. However, innovation stems from makers who might not be students, but still can “make” STEM-related tools and products that can change the world immeasurably.

Here are a few ways that you and your business can celebrate the Week of Making later this June. Together, we can create an environment where advanced manufacturing and fabrication are realms for exploration.

Share Your Story: Are you an educator teaching your students about what it means to be a successful maker? Are you a maker advocate or maybe a maker yourself? Do you know someone who’s been an advocate for the Maker community, in manufacturing or otherwise?

If so, help them share their story on a national level by submitting a profile to the Week of Making site. During the week itself, the website will be sharing a variety of stories and experiences from diverse American makers.

Organize an Event: One wonderful aspect of Nebraska is that many manufacturers are willing to open their doors and share their own maker spaces on the factory floor. Here at Distefano, we’ve hosted countless open houses and shared our business with students. Maybe you can work with your local school or Maker Space to connect with others, spread the word about new inventions, or discuss current Maker projects with likeminded people.

Volunteer to be a Mentor: It’s commonly known that mentorship can increase success rates for people interested in learning new skills or becoming thought leaders. For example, back in 2013, Distefano’s Mark McCormick was recognized as a mentor for Dream It, Do It, for young people entering the field.

McCormick noted that his goal was “to support and encourage teenagers and young adults to always look for ways to improve their skill-set and advance their career whether it be a one-on-one talk . . . or if I was invited to a pep-rally with a similar focus that aligns with the purpose of Dream It Do It Nebraska if I had the opportunity.” Since then, thousands of manufacturing enthusiasts have volunteered to guide teenagers along their career path and work to share their own interests.

To learn more about the “Nation of Makers” and how your business can become involved in promoting manufacturing to younger generation, check out the movement’s page, here.

photo credit: #3DBenchy_boat_print_PLA_fixed_printer via photopin (license)

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