The James Dyson Foundation Launches in America

Posted on May 5, 2011

  by Updates

On May 5, 2011 James Dyson hosted a design workshop for young students in Chicago to mark the launch of the James Dyson Foundation in the US. The workshop was held at Sir Miles Davis Academy, one of few schools in Chicago that offers engineering curriculum to students from Kindergarten through 8th grade.

Along with James Dyson, engineering mentors worked with students to think “beyond the everyday.” Challenged to “redesign an everyday machine that frustrates you”, middle schoolers from Chicago Public Schools thought creatively, sketched, and modeled their designs at Sir Miles Davis Academy’s “invention gym.”

Brains were given a workout as the James Dyson Foundation began its mission to encourage more American students to become future engineers and inventors. Prototypes from Dyson and local companies were also on display.

James Dyson said: “Young people have an innate inventive streak. They’re not stifled by experience – they take risks and are excellent problem-solvers. They fail everyday – exactly the making of a great engineer. We’re encouraging children to use their hands and heads, make mistakes and learn.”

For the launch, the Foundation was joined by local and national organizations to bring engineering to life for the students. Children learned about 3D printing with tools from Argonne National Laboratories, took an in depth look at skin cells with design firm, IDEO, and discovered how robots are made with FIRST robotics.

Chicago education leaders were also in attendance, including President of Chicago Board of Education Mary Richardson-Lowry, Deputy CEO of External Affairs and Partnerships for CPS Barbara Lumpkin, along with influential STEM advocates Jon Dudas, President of FIRST Robotics and Tony Jones, President of the School of the Art Institute (and the Foundation’s chairman).

Initially, the Foundation will concentrate its efforts in Chicago, working with Chicago Public Schools to establish 20 after school engineering clubs. The Foundation will also offer our Education Box, a reverse engineering resource, to Chicago schools with teacher development. The engineering clubs and Education Box will launch in the 2011/2012 school year followed shortly by teacher training tools and university scholarships.

A group from Sterling Engineering attended the official launch party for the Dyson Foundation in support of the mission to promote engineering as a career choice for young students. The last decade has seen a steep decline in enrollment in this field both in colleges as well as technical schools the impact of which is being strongly felt in today’s job market by most manufacturing companies.

As the manufacturing sector continues to expand for the 24th consecutive month, the search for talent is already proving challenging in many areas from Quality Engineers to Tool + Dye expertise. As this program is already showing very positive results within the UK educational system, Sterling is very pleased to support the Dyson Foundation in their efforts with Chicago Public Schools.

If you would like to learn more please visit or contact Jenny Pesek at 630-993-3400.

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