KCC publishes “Blaze Goes to the RMTC” children’s book about manufacturing, industrial trades

Detail from the cover to "Blaze Goes to the RMTC" featuring the two cartoon bear characters Blaze and Bella.

Kellogg Community College is pleased to announce the release of “Blaze Goes to the RMTC,” a fully illustrated, 32-page children’s book about manufacturing and the industrial/skilled trades programs offered at KCC’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center campus in Battle Creek.

The book, published during Manufacturing Month in October, is a follow-up to the College’s popular “Blaze Goes to College” children’s book published last winter. Both books were written by KCC Digital Marketing Manager Simon Thalmann and illustrated by KCC Graphic Design Program alumna Sara Parks.

The cover to "Blaze Goes to the RMTC" featuring the two cartoon bear characters Blaze and Bella.

The new book follows a young version of KCC’s Bruin mascot Blaze, a cartoon bear, as he and his class take a field trip to the College’s RMTC campus, learning about manufacturing, the RMTC and industrial/skilled trades programs offered at the College, including electricity and electronics, HVAC-R, machining, robotics and welding.

The book also introduces a new female main character to the series, Bella, another cartoon bear, who joins Blaze as he explores the RMTC and learns about career paths open to traditional and nontraditional college students alike.

“Often when people think of college they think of a traditional classroom, and our first Blaze book did a good job of showing the variety of hands-on learning environments and experiences that go beyond that, that our students here at KCC actually experience in their day to day studies,” Thalmann said. “This book takes that concept even further, introducing young readers to general manufacturing concepts, skilled trades careers that aren’t always associated with college, and practical applications for those career paths that young people can identify with.”

For example, the College’s Industrial Electricity and Electronic Program is tied in the book to practical experiences like charging phones and keeping lights on. The Industrial HVAC-R program is tied to air conditioning and coolers, which keep ice cream from melting.

The new female lead was a key addition intentionally designed to encourage young female readers to see themselves studying or working in the industrial trades, a field traditionally dominated by male students and workers. The book also addresses the concept of nontraditional adult students, especially relevant at the community college level where the average student age is often in the mid to late 20s.

“It was important to us to show female students taking an active interest in and working in an industrial/skilled trades environment in the book, and to highlight the fact that students of all ages are never too old to learn a new skill,” Thalmann said. “We want to stress to kids – and all readers – that the opportunities for development really are limitless, and that a path in the skilled trades is a doable option. Especially here locally at the RMTC.”

Digital versions of “Blaze Goes to the RMTC,” “Blaze Goes to College” and the Spanish translation of the latter, titled “Blaze Va a la Universidad,” are available to read for free on KCC’s website at www.kellogg.edu/blaze. Print copies of all three books are available for purchase in the Bruin Bookstore for $4.99, with all profits going toward scholarships for the College’s Bruin Youth Programming camps and initiatives for area youth.

For more information about “Blaze Goes to the RMTC,” contact the author at thalmanns@kellogg.edu. For more information about Bruin Youth Programming at KCC, contact KCC’s Lifelong Learning Department at ll-info@kellogg.edu, call 269-965-4134 or visit www.kellogg.edu/youth.

“Blaze Goes to the RMTC” was made possible in part by a grant from the KCC Foundation. For more information about the KCC Foundation, visit www.kellogg.edu/foundation.

About the RMTC

Kellogg Community College’s Regional Manufacturing Technology Center campus is located in the Fort Custer Industrial Park, at 405 Hill Brady Road in Battle Creek. The 48,400-square-foot facility houses KCC’s Industrial Trades and Workforce Solutions departments, offering hands-on training and career programs in robotics, mechatronics, heating and cooling, machining, pipefitting, welding, renewable energy and other trades.

KCC opened the RMTC in 1990 and expanded it in 1992, 1999 and 2015 before completing a major $4.3 million renovation earlier this year. The College offers seven associate degrees and seven certificates at the RMTC, in addition to several professional certifications, apprenticeship opportunities and job training initiatives.

For more information about the RMTC, visit www.kellogg.edu/rmtc. For more information about Industrial Trades programs at KCC, visit www.kellogg.edu/industrial.

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