Posted on October 08, 2018
October is Manufacturing Month, which gives employers and educational organizations the chance to inspire young people to join the booming manufacturing field. Victaulic is no stranger to educating and encouraging the next generation– from our engineering initiatives, to STEM programs, to exploring posts, we are leaders in preparing students for careers in the manufacturing and engineering industries.
In addition to our other initiatives, Victaulic is working with the PA Dream Team to inspire students to join STEM and manufacturing careers in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. The PA Dream Team is a group of the best and brightest young people in manufacturing and engineering, and represent the promise and future of advanced manufacturing in Pennsylvania. Members of the PA Dream Team participate in different events to encourage young people to explore careers in the industry, and this year, four new Victaulic engineers joined the team.
To learn why the PA Dream Team is so important, Victaulic sat down with Global Research & Development Process Engineer Hilary Schmidt, who recently finished her first year as an ambassador for the program.
During her tenure with the PA Dream Team, Schmidt has given presentations on the advantages of joining STEM and manufacturing careers to elementary, middle and high school students. Schmidt has found that these presentations are mutually beneficial – the students get a chance to learn, and Schmidt gets an opportunity to inspire students and practice her presentation skills. She tailors each presentation to the age and interests of the students. “It’s so much fun to translate my daily work for different audience’s understanding,” Schmidt says. “Even though they’re young, the students are always very engaged and ask a lot of questions!”
While each presentation is unique, Schmidt always closes out her PA Dream Team demonstration with a hands-on activity to engage students in manufacturing and engineering concepts. Schmidt has students create and launch paper airplanes at a target. The student who gets closest to the target then instructs the class on how they constructed their airplane, and the entire class gets to throw their new airplanes based on the most successful model.
“Usually, more paper airplanes hit the target the second time around,” Schmidt observed. “Then I take a moment to discuss improving the production process, and how to ensure that everyone built the airplane correctly. This activity has a strong correlation to manufacturing standardization, and shows students how creative problem-solving is applied within the industry.”
“Presentations and activities I facilitate through the PA Dream Team show students that everything is manufactured, and gets them interested in the processes behind each item they see in their daily lives,” says Schmidt. “It sparks curiosity about how things are made.”
Schmidt has found that Victaulic is aware of the importance of this type of program, and that she is strongly supported in her involvement with the PA Dream Team. “Hiring in manufacturing is a universal issue,” Schmidt says. “People tend to have a negative image of manufacturing, when that isn’t the case, especially not at Victaulic. It’s fulfilling to get young people to see the other side of the industry, and get them excited about manufacturing careers.”
The PA Dream Team currently boasts 25 members (five of whom represent Victaulic), including accountants, engineers, CAD drafters, machinists and others involved with the STEM and manufacturing. To learn more about the PA Dream Team, check out their website. If you are employed in a STEM or manufacturing career and would like to join the PA Dream Team, call Project Coordinator Tamara J. Persico at 610-573-4623 or reach her via email at Tamara.Persico@mrcpa.org.