Camp CHAMP! bringing manufacturing to younger generations

Published Date
January 17, 2024 - 12:00:pm

CHAMPION Now!, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to change how American manufacturing is perceived in our nation, held its latest Camp CHAMP! event on Nov. 30, 2023, at the College of Lake County Advanced Technology Center in Gurnee, Illinois. CHAMPION NOW! has brought its efforts to the local level by holding training camps for middle school students at various venues in the Chicago area.

The camp was the first exposure to manufacturing for about 50 middle school students from the Neal Math & Science Academy in North Chicago, Illinois. What's more, the event also provide six students from North Chicago High School to serve as mentors to the middle school students at each of the six Camp CHAMP! stations. 

From what I observed, the camp succeeded in generating genuine interest among many of the students who had front-row seats to view tabletop milling and lathe machines in action. As a bonus, the Camp CHAMP! volunteers on hand that day were treated to a tour of the CLC Advanced Technology Center by Dr. Richard Ammon, the center’s interim executive director of workforce initiatives. “

The CLC Advanced Technology Center, by design, is part of the “Lake County Workforce Ecosystem” that connects industry with the education system in strategic ways to give students in-demand skills. The goal is to ensure that skills training offered through the center meets the needs of local industry. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the center, however, is that the Gurnee campus took just three years to go from an idea on paper to enrolling its first students in the fall of 2022.

View this video for an overview of the latest Camp CHAMP! event and a tour of the CLC Advanced Technology Center.

Related Glossary Terms

  • gang cutting ( milling)

    gang cutting ( milling)

    Machining with several cutters mounted on a single arbor, generally for simultaneous cutting.

  • lathe


    Turning machine capable of sawing, milling, grinding, gear-cutting, drilling, reaming, boring, threading, facing, chamfering, grooving, knurling, spinning, parting, necking, taper-cutting, and cam- and eccentric-cutting, as well as step- and straight-turning. Comes in a variety of forms, ranging from manual to semiautomatic to fully automatic, with major types being engine lathes, turning and contouring lathes, turret lathes and numerical-control lathes. The engine lathe consists of a headstock and spindle, tailstock, bed, carriage (complete with apron) and cross slides. Features include gear- (speed) and feed-selector levers, toolpost, compound rest, lead screw and reversing lead screw, threading dial and rapid-traverse lever. Special lathe types include through-the-spindle, camshaft and crankshaft, brake drum and rotor, spinning and gun-barrel machines. Toolroom and bench lathes are used for precision work; the former for tool-and-die work and similar tasks, the latter for small workpieces (instruments, watches), normally without a power feed. Models are typically designated according to their “swing,” or the largest-diameter workpiece that can be rotated; bed length, or the distance between centers; and horsepower generated. See turning machine.

  • milling


    Machining operation in which metal or other material is removed by applying power to a rotating cutter. In vertical milling, the cutting tool is mounted vertically on the spindle. In horizontal milling, the cutting tool is mounted horizontally, either directly on the spindle or on an arbor. Horizontal milling is further broken down into conventional milling, where the cutter rotates opposite the direction of feed, or “up” into the workpiece; and climb milling, where the cutter rotates in the direction of feed, or “down” into the workpiece. Milling operations include plane or surface milling, endmilling, facemilling, angle milling, form milling and profiling.


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