Access to technology prepares students for innovative careers

By Andrea Paolo Rossi and Oliviero Zondini, Rotary Club of Cesena in Italy and global grant project leads

Our Rotary Club of Cesena is big with more than 100 members who represent the rich culture and strengths of our region. The local economy in Cesena is centered around agriculture and the manufacturing industry, in particular mechanics, manufacturing, and construction equipment. These companies must remain innovative to compete in the global market. Our region has high unemployment rates among youth coupled with manufacturing companies can’t find skilled workers.

To address this concern, we decided to focus on educating local high school students about the skills they need to establish a career in the manufacturing industry. The project aimed to create a 3D print lab for the Technical School. We partnered with FabLab Romagna to provide training for the students. FabLab Romagna, headquartered conveniently near the school, works with the international network of fab labs, small-scale workshops offering personal digital fabrication. Fab labs began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) to provide access to modern innovation technologies.

The project was presented in September 2014 at the 8th Multi-Club Workshop in Ischia, where we met Serbian Rotarians who presented a project with similar characteristics. A partnership was formed from which two global grants were born with the Rotary Club of Cesena and Rotary Club of Beograd-Skadarlija each serving as the local host for their respective project and as the international partner supporting each other’s efforts.

In May 2015, our club’s project was presented to local authorities and citizens of Cesena during the Rotary Romagna Festival. Twelve clubs from our district committed to contribute their time and service to the project. Our artisan association, Confartigianato, supported the project by providing needed consumable materials for the lab.

The Rotary Foundation approved our global grant in June 2016, and in February 2017 the equipment was officially handed over to the school with a public ceremony in which students and teachers presented about their experiences using the fab lab. Our Serbian partners also attended this event.

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The project, valued at $60,650 USD, is now in full swing. The training courses held with FabLab Romagna allow students of different ages and classes to work together to develop a project under the supervision of a fab lab technician. The 3D printers are self- assembled with electronic and mechanical components. Course participants learn to manage the entire supply chain, from starting the project with computer graphics through to the creation of the final product.  The students themselves then become teachers to other students. Students also participate in educational trainings at the local manufacturing companies.

The project will continue throughout the 2017-18 school year, after which the Technical School will have a full 3D printing laboratory and technical expertise to continue training students in an increasing technologically-demanding world of mechanics. But what is most important, these students will learn a method of work that will make them leaders of a changing global industry.

Attend the 2017 Multi-Club Workshop in London, England. The 11th annual event will take place 6-10 September. Learn more about the workshop and visit their website for more information! 

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Related:

Ethical dilemma: what would you do?

As your club’s vocational service chair, you have been engaging young professionals through mentorship initiatives and career counseling projects. You would like more of your fellow club members to participate in these initiatives since many of the mentees are starting off in their careers and you want to introduce them to Rotary and all it offers. You would like to see the young professionals join your club, but have received feedback that they cannot attend your club’s meetings because of the cost and inconvenient time.

You propose to your club leadership that they should change the location, time, and introduce a reduced cost option to attract young professionals. The youth have mentioned that they like to meet with one another at a local bar, so you suggest your club starts meetings at this location instead where drinks and food are optional making it more affordable for the prospective members. Your club leadership is opposed to this idea; they believe it will drive away current members who are not comfortable in that setting. You believe these changes will help attract young professionals to join your club while helping members get more engaged with youth.

What would you do?

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If you would like to submit an ethical dilemma for discussion, email us at rotary.service@rotary.org.

Inspire the next generation through vocational service

By Daniel Seddiqui, Founder of Living the Map

I first became acquainted with Rotary International while living in Evanston to coach the Women’s Cross Country team at Northwestern University.  In 2008, I embarked on an ambitious journey to work 50 Jobs in 50 States in 50 weeks. Throughout my venture, I’ve had the great privilege of speaking at Rotary clubs across the country about my Living the Map program. Now, after settling in Denver, I plan to finally become a Rotary member.

Living the Map offers a national education program to redefine the traditional college internship.  We provide a college credited opportunity for students to experience a rapid prototyping of work and culture related to their career and geographic interests. We aim to empower college students to make informed decisions about their future career paths and gain cultural awareness by exposing them to a variety of authentic work experiences in diverse environments during an on-the-job summer program.

College students work their choice of five jobs in five different states over the course of five weeks. The program also offers a cultural component, as the student lives with a different host family in each location they work. During the work experience, a qualified mentor on the jobsite supervises each student to give advice, field questions, and support the student’s learning objectives for that week.

Rotary plays an enormous role in our program. Rotarians have offered us unmatched support as host families for the program. We have worked exclusively with clubs across the country to help host students in their homes, providing them room and board. The host families often make the biggest impression on our students. Hosts provide students with intangible support and offer them comfort away from home. The kindness and hospitality students experience from their hosts has been transformative, and have offered our students a unique display of Service Above Self. Often our host families also learn something from the students. Rotary members have asked to continue hosting in the years to follow.

We collaborate with our partner employers to craft a meaningful work experience for students. Our employers offer students exposure, mentorship, and career direction, and also provide work assignments to help translate their classroom learning into real world experience. We are eager to continue working with Rotary members in this capacity.

As part of Rotary’s guiding principles and the Avenues of Service, Vocational Service calls on Rotarians to empower others through training and skill development. Rotarians have shown interest in expanding their participation in the program and joining us as partner employers. Rotary’s involvement is a great asset as Rotary members offer comprehensive experience in countless desired professional fields. Rotarians help upcoming young professions discover new vocational opportunities and interests. By working together, we inspire others to act with integrity by following Rotary’s guiding principles and empowering youth with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers.

We invite you to have a role in Living the Map, as an employer or host family. Learn more on our website.

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Read more posts about vocational service