A company like General Electric (NYSE:GE) that has a massive manufacturing base needs a significant number of engineers to run smoothly, and in order for General Electric to remain competitive over the long term, it needs to ensure that younger generations are getting excited about engineering. An effective way for parents to get their children curious about engineering is to expose them to the exciting world of 3-D printing.

What makes 3-D printing so powerful is that it can go from imagination to printed object in a very short period of time. The idea that 3-D printing can invite new design possibilities, create better products, and bring said products to market faster, can have profound effects on the world at large. General Electric is already using 3-D printing in new and exciting ways that will likely lead to fundamentally better products in the future.

According to Christine Furstoss, who heads up General Electric's advanced manufacturing research division, it's all about showing the power of 3-D printing to kids and letting their own imaginations run wild. In her experience, excitement can become contagious, and the greater awareness around 3-D printing and engineering at a younger age, the greater the chances that the next generation of engineers is born. At the end of the day, future generations of engineers are one of, if not the most important lifeline to protecting General Electric's legacy.

In the following video from the Inside 3-D Printing Conference in New York, 3-D printing specialist Steve Heller asks Furstoss if she has any advice for parents about introducing their kids to 3-D printing.

Steve Heller has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.