For the last five days, six OMS students have been a part of the IChallengUth summer program. Led by OMS STEM teacher, Dave McCallum, this is the first pilot program in Allegan County. The program is from the Ottawa County ISD’s Future Prep’d program. McCallum went to a training session there last summer then helped lead a student group as well. This summer, along with the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency, he partnered with Parker Hannifin in Richland to pilot the program in Otsego.
After a call to students, six students showed interest; they became a team this summer to solve a real-world problem at Parker. The problem they researched was the need to improve the packaging system for product repair kits to better meet customer needs. In order to find solutions to this problem, which Parker will be exploring as well, they learned about the steps in the Creative Sequence which has them go through a number of steps to problem-solve. They worked for a couple of days on site at Parker. They were able to see the current process in action, be on the factory floor and ask questions to a panel of Parker employees. From the information they gathered, they came up with several solutions. They created visuals and a digital presentation and presented it to ten Parker employees to wrap up the week.
Parker employees were impressed. They asked a few questions about the process and solutions and could tell that students had done their homework. Brian Binning, Parker Hannifin Corporation, Pneumatic Division’s Quality manager worked closely with the students all week, “The solutions that you came up with are a testament to your engagement in the process,” he told them at the end of the presentation.
The students talked about the problem-solving process, the investigation, being on the floor of the company and talking with employees to solve a real-world problem as things they enjoyed about the program. They enjoyed the opportunity. Binning shared that it’s been a great experience for Parker, as well. The students are hoping Parker might like their ideas so much, they use them.
Otsego would like to thank Parker for their partnership in this program. McCallum is also hoping to grow this program in Allegan County next summer.