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Mission

Turning today's youth into tomorrow's makers.

We're a student-led 501(c)(3) organization composed of a team of high school students who are passionate about manufacturing, workforce education, technology, economics, community engagement, social justice, and so much more. Through social media and community outreach, we hope to expose more youth to the innovation and potential of America's manufacturing sector, emphasizing that manufacturing is no longer smokestacks and 20th-century factories, but rather the catalyst for sleek and futuristic technologies, such as artificial intelligence and (AI) and sustainability solutions.

The Subortus Project was launched by Olivia Liu in 2022, at the conclusion of her research project titled "A Study of the State of Workforce Development in the Rust Belt and Rural America" conducted from March to December of 2022.  She was then a high school student at National Cathedral School in Washington D.C..

Our Goals

Debunk outdated perceptions of manufacturing commonly held by youth

Create educational content crafted for youth, by youth.

Provide youth guidance in career training and employment opportunities

Why Manufacturing?

Today, 500,000 jobs in manufacturing go unfilled. By 2030, that number will be 2.1 million. The solution? Youth.

But, if you asked Americans to describe the term “manufacturing,” they’ll most likely talk about the Industrial Revolution of the 1900s, from soot-filled steel factories to rusted smokestacks. In school, those images are the only ones students learn about manufacturing. The truth is, those perceptions of manufacturing are unbelievably outdated, and The Subortus Project aims to help bring America’s youth onboard with just how high-tech and innovative factories have become. 

Don’t believe us? Search up "smart factory exterior" and "smart factory interior" to see for yourself!

Smart factories are part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They rely on tech like artificial intelligence, digital twins, VR/AR, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help each piece of machinery collect data and communicate with each other to ensure that the production process is as efficient as possible. 

 

In ten years, factories will be even more advanced. But manufacturers need workers aka “Makers” to design, operate, and maintain cutting-edge equipment. 

Our Story

In the winter of 2021, Olivia picked up the book Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. The book often compared rural and urban demographics, and often the rural data proved less positive. Struck by how different levels of education affected an individual’s physical health, vulnerability to substance use, general satisfaction with life, income, and job stability, Olivia was inspired to find a specific sector of the economy in which a good education could prove life-changing. She realized that America’s manufacturing efforts was the perfect case study. 

With a generous grant from a research fellowship that was offered through her school's global studies program, Olivia spent the summer and fall of 2022 conducting interviews, attending trade shows, and visiting rural manufacturing towns, to investigate the workforce development system in rural America, as it pertained to manufacturing and advanced technology education. 

In the process, she received valuable insights from experts across community colleges, manufacturing institutions, and workforce development network officers, and learned that after decades of offshoring its manufacturing operations, the United States is preparing for an industrial comeback.  Corporations, big and small, are constructing factories in cities and towns across the country. Engineers are working to automate production systems, making the manufacturing process more efficient and less manual labor. 

However, Olivia was alarmed by the fact that most American youth have little knowledge about manufacturing by the time they must choose a career path. She reflected on her own schooling--the only times she had learned about manufacturing was when her history class covered the First Industrial Revolution and when her geography class covered the Rust Belt (focusing on how manufacturing died in the late 20th century). 

Olivia realized the problem: youth are not primed to view manufacturing in its most current, advanced form, deterring them from even considering a career in the field. From there, she made it her mission to emphasize how innovative and relevant the manufacturing sector is to fellow middle- and high-schoolers. That mission culminated into The Subortus Project.

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A picture Olivia took at IMTS 2022, a trade show in Chicago, Illinois.

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