Manufacturing Day Activities Excite Local Students

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Manufacturers in the Mahoning Valley and high school students interacted Friday at Manufacturing Day events at America Makes and at the Excellence Training Center at Youngstown State University.

Designed to plant seeds as students contemplate their futures, both Manufacturing Day events comprised interactive or hands-on activities.

Students were encouraged to speak directly to local manufacturers, many of whom expressed hopes of finding future apprentices, interns and employees.

A group from Humtown Products in Columbiana brought a display of artistic items made from its 3D manufacturing, something to grab students’ attention as they passed by.

Zachary Johnson, an industrial coach from Humtown, explained the process that can create items from sand and coat them with a substance to make them nearly unbreakable.

Besides Humtown, also attending the event held at YSU were Ajax Tocco Magnethermic Corp., Brilex Group of Companies, Butech Bliss, City Machine Technologies, Foxconn EV Systems, Novelis, NLMK, Trivium Packaging, Ultium Cells and Vallourec.

In addition to meeting with manufacturers, students saw some of the equipment they can learn to operate through programs offered at the training center.

Dr. Wim Stellant, dean of College of STEM at YSU, gave a lesson on density for students who may misunderstand science.

“Seeing is believing,” Stellant said, noting the Excellence Training Center is a “hidden gem. The motto of the STEM College has always been Hands On Early On. The sooner we can get the kids out of the classroom and apply what they learned, it will start making sense to them.”

The day was a chance to show off all the programs at the ETC and get students excited about their futures.

Nico Morgione, YSU associate director of business development and industry partnerships, meets with Mia Jones and Evan Fisher, students at Warren Harding High School, at the Excellence Training Center.

“We love the partnership that we have with the STEM College and Ohio Manufacturing Day really gives us the opportunity to showcase what we’re doing here at the ETC and provide alternative pathways for students as they come out of high school. If they don’t want to go into a four-year program, they can come here for an associate’s program or certificates,” said Jackie A. Ruller, director of the ETC.

Parents may urge their children to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer, Ruler said, but there are many other opportunities for students in the area, they just need to be exposed to it.

America Makes, in its 10th year, celebrated its first Manufacturing Day event also by hosting manufacturers and students.

Vallourec displayed the relationship between pipe sizes and viscosity by using melted ice cream, while Foxconn EV Systems had students building cars from small parts.

Todd VanOrman, engineering instructor of the Valley STEM +ME2 Academy program at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, brought a mobile lab to the America Makes parking lot.

Students in the academy program showed what can be created using the equipment in the lab, which includes CNC machining, gravers, 3D printers, and CNC routers. They made laser print logos on dog tags, create small plastic pieces by using plastic injection molding and print T-shirts, which the students got to take with them.

Students also toured America Makes, which was hosting the event along with the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and JuggerBot 3D, which makes 3D printers

“The kids are really engaged,” said Ashley Morrow at Livi Steel Inc., Warren. “The questions they are asking – they know things that I have job candidates that don’t know these things. … It’s amazing. It’s exciting. These kids really have insightful questions.”

Alex Hertzer of the MVMC said the students who came to America Makes were already interested in and showing aptitude in manufacturing programs.

“We wanted to be more qualitative,” Hertzer said. “We wanted to have a smaller group of kids but be able to do more of an intense activity with them. So they are actually building something with Tinkercad.”

Through a program with Ten80, students got a chance to be introduced to Tinkercad, creating a design for their own products and giving a pitch at the end of the event.

Warren Harding counselor T.J. Lowery said bringing the students is about giving them experiences they may not usually have. While they may have taken computer-based programs in 3-D technology, most have not actually seen them operate. Many students were excited about seeing YSU, as well.

“We want to give them that opportunity to find what they want to do next. We want to give them that exposure,” Lowery said.

Pictured at top: Rachel Parker of Ten80 shows Aryana Torruella and Mileyshka Navarro, students at the NEO-Impact Academy in Campbell, how to measure parts using a caliper during a Manufacturing Day hands on activity at America Makes.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.