EAST HARTFORD - Connecticut Dream It. Do It. hosted over 100 middle school students for a Manufacturing Mania event on Friday at the Goodwin College Business and Manufacturing Center.
The goal was to give students a hands-on positive look at the manufacturing industry and help them develop an awareness of the variety of rewarding career opportunities.
“The manufacturers here today are also playing a pivotal role in exposure, especially in this state where we have an incredibly rich history in manufacturing,” said Ron Angelo, president and CEO of Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. “We have to keep that going and the only way to do that is to start very young, give them exposure and get them excited about these fields.”
“I think this was a good opportunity for people like me who don’t know what they want to do,” said Shaylin Montanez, from New Britain. “It gives me a chance to see if this is something I may want to do.”
These inquiring 8th grade students bused in from several towns in the Hartford area including East Hartford, New Britain, Plainville, Bristol and Southington were able to see exhibits and displays of manufacturers and education institutions.
“There’s 4,000 companies that are making things here in Connecticut and we have a handful of them here today so that they can show the kids what they make, tell them about where they make it, the types of jobs you need to have and they can touch and feel the products,” said Alyce Stiles, associate director of STEM education.
They were given the opportunity to ask a multitude of questions to the exhibitors.
“I love it. I got a lot of great questions. I mean the kids are very engaging. They’re very curious and when they see something that interests them they’re like ‘wow that’s pretty cool’,” said Michael Scotto, exhibitor from Advanced Composites and Metalforming Technologies.
“I thought of this as just an opportunity, but today kind of led me to want to do manufacturing in the future,” said Sandra Jakubowski, from New Britain.
Students experienced interactive demonstrations when they visited Goodwin College’s Quality Control Lab, as well as, their Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Training Lab where they saw 3D printing technology and used 3D pens.
“It (mobile lab) goes around the state; during the school year we bring it to classrooms and incorporate it into part of our activities,” said Stiles. “Today the students got to see the laboratory, got to see the equipment and got to talk to the people who are teaching technologies.”
In the hands-on workshops like the ice cream stick factory, students got to play one of the roles in the manufacturing process to develop a finished product and learned how to work together in the workplace.
“The students are working in groups to manufacture or make custom order ice cream sticks according to customer’s specifications and once they finish an order we inspect them and pay them for the order,” said Calvin Brown, CCAP staff. “This teaches them a way to sort of strategize about buying supplies and buying equipment to increase production.”
In a few of the workshops, competitions were held among the students.
There were also a few guest speakers like Tim Larson, executive director of the Office of Higher Education.
“This collaboration provides a foundation for students, schools, employees and employers to cultivate the skills, talents and entrepreneurial spirit necessary to build a better long-term economic future for Connecticut,” said Gov. Ned Lamont.
October was declared the 8th annual Connecticut Dream It. Do It. Manufacturing Month and Oct. 4 was National Manufacturing Day.
Dream It. Do It. was created in 2005 by The Manufacturing Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers not-for-profit education and policy arm.