DuBOIS — Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School’s entire sophomore class joined students from other school districts for Penn State University DuBois Campus’ Manufacturing Day.
The event had faculty from Penn State directing students in various hands-on activities, like building a bridge out of popsicle sticks or designing a wearable shoe using poster board and duct tape.
“It’s important for our students to see what majors are open to them,” explained Brockway School Counselor Heather Anderson. “They got to do hands-on activities in a college setting and saw what being on a college campus is like.”
The most important part of the event, however, was the presentations by local manufacturers. Penn State invited businesses like Sensus, Symmco, Niagra Cutter, and more. “Many of our students should be looking into opportunities found in manufacturing,” said Brockway Co-Principal Mark Dippold. “These are good-paying jobs that they can do right here in our area. There are a wide variety of skills that can be used in manufacturing, and those are important skills for competing in a global economy.”
Devin Trentini of Sensus was one of the presenters at Manufacturing Day, and his presentation highlighted the wide variety of skills Dippold spoke of.
“We have many positions,” he said. “You can work in marketing or design, or you could work with our machines. We need accountants, machine operators, engineers, forklift drivers, everything.”
Trentini’s presentation showed students a robot that checks for leaks, machines that are used to make gages and regulators, and then a long list of jobs that could be done at Sensus. He was not alone. Many employers gave similar speeches, and students had the chance to ask questions and see products made by those employers.
For the students, the event was a chance to combine planning for college and thinking about careers.
Alexis Waclawik hopes to be a civil engineer when she graduates. She has been to Penn State a few times and is considering going there after she graduates.
“I love math and science,” Waclawik said. “If I have pre-calculus homework, I think it’s a good day! I learned today that being something in an engineering field is feasible. There are many opportunities in a broad spectrum of industries.”
Even if the Brockway sophomores did not have a clear plan, they did have a chance to learn about Penn State.
“I liked the campus,” Emily Calliari said. “It was nice and clean, easy to get around. And I didn’t know there were so many manufacturing jobs in this area.”
Cameron Fields enjoyed the manufacturing robot on display at the event.
“It was a neat robot,” he said. “And the campus, it was smaller and easier to figure out than bigger ones.”
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the next decade could see over three million new jobs opening up in manufacturing. There is a skills gap and a shortage of qualified workers, making it difficult for current employers to fill positions.
According to Penn State’s website, Manufacturing Day is a national event celebrated around the country to work against the misconceptions surrounding manufacturing jobs.