Ford truck, agriculture careers shown to students across U.S.

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Updated Dec 5, 2016

Students across the country had a chance recently to learn more about career paths in Ford truck production and the agriculture industry.

Discovery Education aired a one-hour presentation live last Wednesday to classrooms across the U.S. from Ford’s Rouge Complex, home of the Dearborn Truck Plant. Co-hosted by Discovery, Ford and Future Farmers of America, “Find your Future: Advanced Manufacturing VFT (Virtual Field Trip)” allowed students to take a closer look at careers in the auto industry and in agriculture.

One of those careers was clay modeling. FFA Central Region Vice-President Abrah Meyer asked two Ford clay modelers to talk to students about their jobs and how they got started in their careers.

“Here at Ford as a clay modeler we take the designers’ 2D sketches and turn them into 3D models,” Ford clay modeler Nate Ratliff said.

Getting the chance to work at Ford’s design studio, however, took work in the classroom first.

“I got my bachelors of fine arts in ceramics and then after graduation I went back to college for creative studies and got certified in professional automotive clay modeling,” Ford clay modeler Alex Smith explained.

“My background is that I went to school to become a journeyman tool and die maker and with my passion for art was able to transition to Ford and land a job doing clay modeling,” Ratliff said.

Students were also able to ask questions during the presentation, which included the time it takes to assemble a Ford pickup.

“That is one of my favorite questions,” Cynthia Jones, general manager of the Ford Museum and Ford Rouge Factory Tour, told students. “We hear that all the time because people come to the factory tour, they see actual F-150s trucks made here, they see all those amazing features being built into them and they think that it takes forever to do that. It’s amazing how quickly it’s done.

“At the end of the line here there is one finished truck leaving every 60 seconds, but inside final assembly it takes about 18 hours to actually put all of those features together into the truck, get it done, tested, assured for the customer and leave this building.”

Other topics covered during the webcast include robotic durability testing on the F-150. Ford reported that roughly 50,000 students viewed the program.