When you see those big 18-wheelers driving down the highway, chances are the brakes on that semi are made by Bendix, which is headquartered in Elyria.
Bendix is always working to inspire the next generation of its technology workforce by opening its doors to students, giving them a close-up look at the world of engineering.
We visited Bendix as the engineering honors class of Avon Lake High School was at the facility. They're getting a lesson from Bendix engineers on their advanced air brake system, designed to take control from a driver if necessary and keep all of us safe on the road.
Bendix employs 600 people in Elyria, including almost 200 engineers. It also offers internships, an employment program for young engineers, and a technical skills program. And it believes strongly in supplementing what kids learn from textbooks with real world experiences.
"We want to get them excited when they're out in the world and they're seeing those big trucks. How fast they can go, and if something goes wrong, the impact it can have on lives. They can say 'I want to be part of that'," says Maria Gutierrez of Bendix.
About 30% of the workforce at Bendix are women. Of the 9 students in the engineering class, only 2 are girls. That unfortunately is often the reality in middle schools and high schools all over: Girls who may be excited about STEM, pull away as teenagers.
"I think it's just that engineering is primarily viewed as a men's occupation, so I'm not sure if girls just think that or are scared away from it," says Avon Lake junior Rayana Meyers.
"I'm in a couple clubs, robotics clubs and I always try to fight for the right to say something but its always very hard because my group is always boys and it's always hard just to get a word in," adds Avon Lake freshman Camryn Wagner. "It's not like I'm looked down on, it's just how it is."
It may be how it is, but girls have voices too, and Bendix wants to listen.
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