Mohonasen High School students got a first-hand look at the manufacturing process during tours of two local manufacturers on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
More than 75 students toured the design rooms and shop floors of STS Steel and Package One Industries, both in Schenectady. The site visits were planned in conjunction with Manufacturing Day, a national event designed to spotlight the importance of the manufacturing sector and the promising career opportunities it offers students. Although it’s referred to as Manufacturing “Day,” the event typically involves happenings throughout the first week in October.
Mohonasen also hosted a Manufacturing Day panel discussion and press conference on Monday, Oct. 1, at the Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) at Mohonasen. Educators, business leaders, elected officials and students took part in the press conference and panel discussion that focused on business-education partnerships and their value in overcoming the skilled-labor shortage.
As many in manufacturing professions are nearing retirement age, the need increases regionally and across the U.S. for skilled workers to move into this segment of the workforce.
“The manufacturing sector continues to grow here in the Capital Region,” said Andrew Kennedy, president of the Center for Economic Growth. “It is at the highest level we have seen since 2001, and businesses want to hire local.”
“Whether in engineering or manufacturing, there are a lot of jobs being created in the Capital Region,” added Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
Mohonasen Superintendent of Schools Shannon Shine said students get a first-hand look at potential future careers through hands-on learning offered through classes offered by Mohonasen, Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) and the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School (CTE).
“Students see a direct connection between what they’re learning, what they’re doing in the classroom and real life,” said Shine. “We are preparing students for the arduous yet rewarding world of ‘adulting,’ and we are providing them a significant head start.”
Attendees at this year’s event emphasized how programs that collaborate with industry partners are preparing the next generation of manufacturing professionals.
“We continue to provide more opportunities for students because of the people we partner with,” said Capital Region BOCES Senior Executive Officer Joseph P. Dragone, Ph.D.
Voorheesville High School senior and BOCES machining and manufacturing student Chris Zautner credited the opportunity to work within the industry that is embedded in his program for the excitement he feels for his studies. Zautner, who attends BOCES CTE classes at the CAT building, is currently working with Ren Tool and Manufacturing Company of Schenectady.
“How many people who are still in high school can say they are manufacturing parts for General Electric?” Zautner asked. “I can, thanks to Capital Region BOCES and Ren Tools.”
The Manufacturing Day event was coordinated by Capital Region BOCES, the Capital Region Chamber, the Center for Economic Growth, and SUNY Schenectady County Community College and the Mohonasen and Watervliet school districts.