At the Escuela Vieau School in downtown Milwaukee, seventh-grader Camila Garcia was building a model wind turbine in a class intended to spark interest in engineering, Reuters reports.

“At first, I thought, ‘This is for boys, it’s not for me. I can’t do it,'” the 13-year-old recalled. “Now I see that I can do it and that it’s fun.”

Her nascent interest in both learning math as well as the skills to apply it–measuring, designing and assembly–is a hopeful sign for manufacturers facing an unfamiliar problem as the country grapples with high unemployment. After years of cutting workforces, executives complain they cannot find enough people with the skills needed to thrive in modern factories. Some 600,000 skilled manufacturing positions are unfilled in the United States, according to a survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute…

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staff and wire services reports