West Virginia University’s industrial extension service will host a number of events for school-aged children as part of Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Day is a nationwide event designed to introduce students to jobs in manufacturing and other science, technology, engineering and math-related fields. The goal is to give students a real-life view of what manufacturing is and how they can enter the industry.
This year’s events will be held in Berkeley County and will include students from Spring Mills and Martinsburg high schools.
“Our goal is to conduct Manufacturing Day activities in all areas of the state,” said Gerald Biser, associate director of industrial extension at WVU and director, West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership. “For the past two years we had activities in north central West Virginia, focusing on Morgantown, Fairmont, Bridgeport and Clarksburg. This year, we decided to go to the Eastern Panhandle. It is a growing region with many modern manufacturers, many of whom are our clients.”
The WVMEP works with Lynn Dombrowsky from StemPloy LLC to plan and coordinate Manufacturing Day activities. StemPloy works with employers, professional groups and educators to connect women to STEM fields.
“Lynn and I meet and discuss our goals for the events and work together to select a region,” Biser said. “I supply potential manufacturers and Lynn arranges the schools. Once all parties have agreed to participate Lynn handles the arrangements with the schools and the companies.”
On Wednesday, September 30, a group of presenters will head to Spring Mills High School to conduct a series of symposiums that highlight employment opportunities in manufacturing. Presenters include Biser; Alan Zube, mechatronics and CAD coordinator with Blue Ridge Community and Technical College; Emily Schumacher, production planner at Ecolab; and James Horwatich, paper manager at Quad/Graphics.
On Friday, October 2 – national Manufacturing Day – 50 students each from Spring Mills and Martinsburg high schools will take alternating tours of Ecolab and Quad/Graphics.
“Primary drivers for the events are to increase awareness among students at all levels of the importance of STEM education and the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. and global economies,” Biser said. “We show students the different types of jobs and careers available in the manufacturing sector and demonstrate how STEM prepares them for those jobs and careers.”
Industrial extension provides on-site, technical assistance and training to manufacturers throughout West Virginia and the region. In 2013-2014, extension agents helped their clients generate more than $6 million in new sales and more than $20 million in retained sales.
CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
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