NORTH BAY – This week will see the kickoff for enrollment in "100-in-100," an innovative program to put high school students up close with local manufacturers.

The brainchild of 101MFG, a private alliance of Northern California manufacturers, 100 Sonoma County companies will host job-shadows, five-day internships and Summer 2012 internships for 100 days, starting February, 2012.

“Once our students and manufacturers have the opportunity to learn more about each other, we intend to let nature – and the industry's need for the next generation of highly skilled workers and engineers – take hold,” said 101MFG President, Dick Herman.

Sonoma County high school juniors and seniors are the initial targets, although the program’s creators hope to expand it to all North Bay counties in the coming year.

"Even before the enrollment website for manufacturers and high schools goes live this week, we already have more than 20 manufacturers who've asked to be put on the list," said Mr. Herman.

 "These are terrific area employers who are making history with this program.”

Among the companies expressing interest are Agilent Technologies, Labcon North America, X2nSat, SRC Cables, Icore International, Raydiance, and Triformix. Mr. Herman expects that by January, 100 companies will be enrolled.

High schools interested in participating include Petaluma High School, Santa Rosa High School, St. Vincent High School, Rancho Cotate High School, Technology High School, Windsor, Piner, Cloverdale and Healdsburg High Schools, according to Stephen Jackson, director, career development ROP, Sonoma County Office of Education. 

"I can tell you the interest on the part of students and employers is very high," said Dan Sunia, president of California Tooling and Machining Apprenticeship Association, another one-of-a-kind program to provide the next generation of manufacturing workers.

 "We previewed the program and a video of involved Petaluma High students at several recent statewide events and the California Department of Education is looking at this program as a model for the future," he said. 

Endorsements for 100 in 100 have also come from the California Technology and Manufacturing Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Sonoma County Office of Education, California Department of Education and local chambers of commerce, said Mr. Herman.

 Timing of the program is according to the following schedule:

-- December 2011 to January 2012 manufacturers and Sonoma County high school juniors and seniors can register through the website http://one-hundred.101mfg.com, available this week.

-- February 2012 will feature job-shadow "visits" by high school participants to area manufacturers.  Students must have their school counselor's or sponsoring teacher's approval, be registered to participate and have their own transportation.  Each manufacturer may host from two students to "as many as they can provide a quality, supervised experience to," according to Mr. Herman

-- March and April 2012, candidates selected by participating manufacturers will be assigned real-world, voluntary five-day work-assignments ranging from office support – product or market research, building webpages, financial analysis and spreadsheets – to factory support – CAD/Design, inventory-taking, assembly, light-manufacturing tasks and equipment familiarization – under the voluntary supervision of participating companies.

-- Summer 2012 selected high school candidates may be offered paid summer internships by voluntary participating manufacturers. 

Based on initial discussions with manufacturers program leaders hope to achieve between 50 to 100 sponsored internships.

"Many of these kids are right in the middle of deciding 'what I want to be,' and this program will give them a real leg up on that," said Mr. Herman.

Technical assistance, financial and in-kind assistance for 100 in 100 comes from sponsors that include Vantreo Insurance Brokerage, California Tooling & Machining Apprenticeship Assn., SME and the North Bay Business Journal. 

For more information contact 101MFG directly, in care of: Dick Herman, dherman@101mfg.com, or at (707) 766-1537.