Schenectady, NY — The past, present and future of manufacturing was recognized and celebrated at a series of special events this morning which served as the kick-off to Schenectady’s Manufacturing Week. Members of the Mohonasen community were active participants in all of the morning’s activities.
The day began at 9 a.m. at miSci with a panel discussion entitled, “Women in Manufacturing.” The forum featured women who’ve built successful careers in manufacturing, including Paula Patalino of Philips Medical Systems, Adine Viscusi from Casa Visco and Cecilia Tkaczyk from Cece’s Wool. The panel discussion was attended by female students from around the region, including a group of Mohonasen High School and Draper Middle School students who have a strong interest in science and technology.
“You decide what you want to do for your future,” Tkaczyk told the students. “Just because men have typically done it doesn’t mean you can’t.”
Tkaczyk encouraged students to network as well as to take as many different classes as possible to find a career path they are passionate about.
Patalino suggested students seek out internship possibilities to explore different career opportunities. She encouraged the students to not rule out any career possibility. “Just because there are big burly men in the room, you cannot think that you can’t do it,” Patalino said. “You can probably do it better.”
Visco told students they should never be afraid to ask questions to help them learn.
“Never in your life will you have more opportunities than you do now,” she said. “As you make decisions, you’re going to narrow down what you want to pursue. If you have a desire, a dream, a passion, go for it. Do what you want to do.”
Following the discussion, Mohonasen superintendent Dr. Kathleen Spring joined other dignitaries in a press conference officially kicking off Manufacturing Week 2015 in the region. Among those sharing the podium with Dr. Spring were U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko and Dr. Lynne Wells, assistant superintendent for instruction at Capital Region BOCES. All spoke about the importance of manufacturing in the region and the changing face of the industry.
Spring discussed the new Center for Advanced Technology, noting it may be the first facility of its kind in the state, if not the country. “This could be public education’s answer to the middle skills gap,” she said.
Tonko said the message needs to be heard that manufacturing is not “dirty, dumb, dangerous and declining.” Instead, he said, “We must dispel those notions of manufacturing that don’t accurately define it … The message needs to be shared that manufacturing is safe, smart, sustainable and surging.”
Occurring alongside these events, were tours of local manufacturing companies, STS Steel and Automated Dynamics. Approximately 80 Mohonasen students had the opportunity to tour the design rooms and shop floors of each company.