MVMC Manufacturing and Engineering Night a Home Run for Youths

By Hannah Werle

NILES, Ohio – For Daniel Haggelty, an eighth-grader who hopes to become an architectural engineer, the opportunity to operate robots and a 3D printing pen at a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game was a welcome surprise.

The Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition’s inaugural Manufacturing and Engineering Night, held Thursday at Eastwood Field, was an effort to raise awareness about manufacturing jobs and career pathways, especially among young students.

Children attending the game interacted with and learned about the various technologies showcased by trade and science education organizations like Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology and Trumbull Career & Technical Center.

Daniel and his parents were glad to see the informational booths, which provided insights about programs related to engineering and manufacturing.

Michelle Haggelty, Daniel’s mother, said she’s always looking for new ways for Daniel to explore his interest.

“I asked [the TCTC representatives] about summer camps for him to learn more about 3D printing, because he sends stuff to the local library in Warren but wants to know more. So whatever availability we can make – we can do to get him more knowledge, we’re there. We’re always looking for something else for him,” Haggelty said.

Eighth grader Audrey Gensburg, already interested in engineering, had the opportunity to work behind a booth with her mother, a program and guidance supervisor at TCTC.

“Robots and stuff have been a fascination of mine for a long time. With my mom working at TCTC, I have a way to access them and build them,” Audrey said.

Audrey participated in a TCTC summer camp sponsored by MVMC. At the camp, Audrey listened to guest speakers from local manufacturing companies and toured the Hynes Industries manufacturing plant.

These outreach efforts are a part of MVMC’s initiative to inspire and educate young people about the manufacturing field.

Alex Hertzer, MVMC’s interim executive director, explained that youth outreach is a long-term effort to help amend the industry’s workforce shortage.

“There’s definitely a shortage, locally, of skilled labor and entry level roles within manufacturing. I think from an ecosystem standpoint, one of the best things that we can do is focus on exposing our students to STEM careers related to manufacturing,” Hertzer said. “Our students are probably one of our biggest assets in our community. If we really want to create a strong pipeline of talent into local manufacturing, it starts with our students.”

Hertzer said one part of MVMC’s efforts is to change people’s opinions about manufacturing jobs. Hertzer explained that MVMC provides hands-on activities and tours to show students what manufacturing plants and careers look like.

“We’re looking at VR technology to be able to do virtual reality tours for students that can’t get out of the classroom, to show them that it’s not dark and dirty and dangerous. [MVMC is] bringing in speakers that are women in manufacturing to show that it’s not just for men. So [MVMC is] really trying to change that narrative, one student at a time,” Hertzer said.

Pictured at top: Audrey Gensburg helped fix and operate one of the robots at the TCTC booth at the event Thursday.

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