Akron -- A 16-county coalition of business organizations, educators, and civic leaders led by the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) has launched "Dream It! Do It!," a $3 million awareness campaign to encourage high school and college students to explore and pursue careers in manufacturing in Northeast Ohio. The program's launch took place Jan. 16 at the Crowne Plaza at Quaker Square in Akron and featured such guest speakers as Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Dr. Luis Proenza, president of the University of Akron. "Our goal is to educate students, parents and teachers about the new reality of manufacturing: high-paying, challenging and interesting careers in technologically sophisticated environments," said Stephen J. Gage, Ph.D, president of MAGNET. "Young people don't realize that dynamic, cutting- edge technology has transformed manufacturing in ways that are hard to imagine if you haven't visited a factory lately." Officials from the group say a recent survey of Northeast Ohio young adults ages 18 to 34 showed that only 10.6 percent are interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing. Most respondents view manufacturing careers as "low paying" and "short-term." "Dream It! Do It!" seeks to broaden awareness about careers in manufacturing as both satisfying and high-paying; the average annual compensation is $63,000 -- 20 percent higher than in the rest of the economy. Key messages also include the diversity of today's manufacturing careers -- from being a test engineer for an mp3 maker, a designer for a mountain bike manufacturer or a software developer at a computer game company."Manufacturing has always been, and still is, the very heart of Northeast Ohio," said Curtis Moll, chairman and CEO of MTD Products, Inc. and MAGNET board member. "Our young people can have an exciting, well-paying career, right in their own backyard, with manufacturers like MTD, Timken and Jergens that are creating cutting-edge products that beat the global competition."For more information about MAGNET, visit www.magnetwork.org. For more information about the campaign, go online to www.dreamit-doit.com/NortheastOhio. Images of the Dream It! Do It! ads and billboards are available upon request. For more information about the National Association of Manufacturers, visit www.nam.org.