On Tuesday, December 13, plastic tubing manufacturer NewAge Industries welcomed several students and teachers from Neil A. Armstrong Middle School, located in Fairless Hills, Pa. The students made the trip to NewAge to learn about careers in manufacturing and to film their visit as part of a contest.
The annual contest, produced by Dream It. Do It. PA, is designed to bring awareness of manufacturing careers to middle school students. The contest involves the production of a short video that highlights career opportunities at manufacturing companies.
“When I was approached about this,” said Ken Baker, NewAge’s CEO, “I was on board immediately. I believe it’s important for kids to know that manufacturing jobs don’t have to be boring. There are positions at NewAge that involve computerized testing and monitoring equipment, innovative machinery development, quality control and clean room operations, engineering, and other advanced manufacturing techniques. They’re jobs that may not require a four-year college degree, but STEM skills and a strong desire for continued learning definitely come into play.”
Started in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley in 2013, the Dream It Do It PA challenge has widened to include the Greater Philadelphia area, Berks and Chester counties, and the Pittsburgh region. Schools are matched with area manufacturing companies, and the students then visit those companies with their teachers. The children shoot video, take photographs, interview employees, and later edit their footage to produce a video highlighting the types of advanced manufacturing careers available. The videos are organized under a program titled “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” and are voted on in February.
Several Armstrong Middle School students and two teachers toured NewAge Industries’ silicone tubing production areas, plastic tubing extrusion rooms, custom hose assembly shops, product testing areas, quality assurance stations, and its warehouse.
“The testing areas were quite popular,” Baker said. “That’s where we stress samples until they rupture and get to blow stuff up.”
Baker also noted that “The students and teachers were impressed with the scope of what we do here and seemed to really take it all in, watching how a product is made from start to finish. I hope the experience opened their eyes to the technical aspects and possibilities of manufacturing careers.”
Find out more about Pennsylvania’s Dream It. Do It. PA program at dreamitdoitpa.com.