These unidentified students learn welding techniques at Camp Metalhead. The camp is one of many camps sponsored by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association and the Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs Foundation with the goal of exposing young people to manufacturing careers.


The Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs Foundation has teamed up with FMA in an effort to encourage America’s youth to enter the manufacturing industry.

Founded by actor, director and producer John Ratzenberger, the foundation has offered manufacturing camps and scholarships to help young people interested in a manufacturing career. The association is joining forces with the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Foundation to create one charitable organization called Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs, the Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International. It will be based in Rockford, Ill., the headquarters for FMA.

According to the foundation, the partnership will help to broaden operations and increase charitable activities that include providing grants to educational institutions offering manufacturing camps and awarding scholarships to students pursuing manufacturing careers.

Former FMA Foundation executives Gerald Shankel and Terrence Egan will direct the new organization, serving as president and director, respectively, and John Ratzenberger will continue to serve on the governing board and lead the foundation’s national public policy and media campaigns.

“This partnership combines John Ratzenberger’s voice and passion on an issue so dear to his heart with FMA’s infrastructure and resources to spread the message that manufacturing is a viable career option,” Shankel said. “We will be even more effective working together to spark interest among young people in the industry and help revitalize the future of manufacturing in America.”

“As a champion of manufacturing, John Ratzenberger will have a great impact on fostering media coverage on this quest and help us spread the word that it’s honorable to work with your hands,” Egan added. “The focus is on inspiring young people to ultimately explore the manufacturing career path by getting them to tinker, fix and make stuff, and dream about inventing things. The groundwork we’ve laid and the programs we’ve implemented in the past will continue to be the core of our work.”