NTMA Pilot Event to Get Students Interested in Manufacturing | Local News


Three local manufacturing facilities will open their doors today to PENNCREST School District students in a new event aimed at getting students interested in the field and dispelling some of its negative stereotypes.

Student Passport to Manufacturing is a collaboration between PENNCREST and Northwestern

Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and some of its local members. Highpoint Tool and Machine, Acutec Precision Aerospace Inc. and Pinnacle Molds will welcome students and parents who registered before March 13 to get an inside look at the world of manufacturing.

Tami Adams, executive director of the NTMA Regional Chapter, said the idea for the event originated several years ago during a panel discussion following the annual Educators in the Workplace event hosted by the Crawford K-12 Career Education Alliance.

Unfortunately, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the event back to this year. PENNCREST was chosen as the district for the initial version of the event because its superintendent, Timothy Glasspool, sits on the chapter’s Academic Outreach Committee, making it easier to organize.

Registration was made available to students in grades three through nine. This was done, according to Adams, to ensure that parents would accompany their students so that they too could get a clear picture of the type of workplace their child might want to enter and dispel any negative ideas about working in the workplace. manufacturing sector that they might have.

“What we see, time and time again, is people walking past manufacturing businesses and having no idea what’s going on inside,” she said.

Additionally, it is hoped that the stimulation of interest will help increase manufacturing employment in the county in the future. Adams said many companies are struggling to find workers in the manufacturing sector.

“That’s been their main concern lately,” she said. “They have a lot of work, they even have opportunities to develop, but what is holding them back is the lack of staff.”

Clay Dawson, chair of the Academic Outreach Committee, said the event is a “fun and interactive way” for students to learn about manufacturing, and a step up from simply visiting a lecturer at school.

One of the main goals of the event is to educate students about the variety of jobs and positions available in a manufacturing plant.

“Fab shops, they’re like any other business,” Dawson said. “They need engineers, they need accountants, they need anything, etc.”

Dawson said just over 90 students registered for today’s event. The goal, if all goes well, is to eventually expand Student Passport to Manufacturing to other school districts, having businesses close to those schools also open their doors, just as the three participants will do today. today.

Dawson expressed confidence in the notion of future iterations of the event should student interest prove high enough.

“People who work in these stores love showing off what they do on a daily basis,” he said.

The excitement is certainly high for Mark Sippy, president of Highpoint.

“We usually get involved in anything NTMA does, but we’re particularly interested in anything that involves children and tries to get them into the business,” he said.

Children and parents visiting Highpoint will have the chance to see many things the facility produces, from helicopters to amusement park exhibits.

Additionally, Sippy Historic Machine Shop, located on the same campus, will be open to show attendees how manufacturing was done in the past.

Sippy said that for many years younger generations have been pushed to go to college, but it might not be for everyone. He sees this event as a way to encourage a different path.

“We don’t know if this will be successful until the next generations enter the workforce, but we keep trying with things like this and RoboBOTS (the high school robot fighting competition) to interest them,” he said. .

Joe Newman, director of operations at Pinnacle Moulds, sees the event as something positive for manufacturing as a whole.

“The industry is always looking for new people these days, and that’s basically where it comes from,” he said of the event. “Trying to get the younger generation into trade schools.”

Pinnacle will showcase two of its new machines, a 5-axis Yasda and a 3-axis Yasda, both powered in part by robots. Newman said he hoped to grab students’ attention by showcasing some of the advanced technologies used in modern manufacturing.

“They will definitely be able to see that one; hopefully the other will work too,” he said. “If it’s not about physically making parts, we’ll just get it moving.”

At Acutec, manufacturing engineering manager Kyle Astor believes the event will be a good opportunity for students and parents to see the field in a positive light.

“We just want to get rid of any negative stigma that might be associated with manufacturing,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s a dirty environment and ‘why should I let my child go to a place like this?'”

Acutec team members will show many of their high tech machines and how they make their own tooling.

Since the company runs its own machinist training program and enrolls graduates, it’s valuable to engage students early on.

Additionally, Astor said the event could attract new workers beyond students, as some of their parents might like what they see on the tour.

“Maybe they work in a small store and are looking to change careers,” he said.

Student Passport for the Making is taking place today only for pre-registered students and families.

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