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Grant helps Penn College ‘manufacture’ career exploration

A national foundation devoted to manufacturing’s future is teaming with Pennsylvania College of Technology to spark interest among high schoolers in the sector’s rewarding careers.

Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs, the charitable foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, provided a $2,000 grant for the college to host the Thingamajig Fabricators Pre-College Program for students entering grades 9-12. The program is also supported by the PMMI Education and Training Foundation and Construction Specialties Inc.

Registration for the program – scheduled for July 17-21 – is full, but the college is collecting a waiting list.

“The high demand for the program is exciting because it’s indicative of genuine interest in manufacturing as a career possibility,” said Bradley M. Webb, dean of engineering technologies, who spearheaded the college’s grant application. “Manufacturing is in desperate need of skilled professionals and offers rich opportunities in a wide variety of fields. Filling the slots for the Thingamajig Fabricators Pre-College Program tells me that message is getting through to some students and their parents.”

According to a study conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, U.S. manufacturing will have an estimated 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030.

“It’s common for our students who graduate with a manufacturing-related associate or bachelor’s degree to have multiple job offers before receiving their diploma,” Webb said. “Their technical skill set makes them in-demand tomorrow makers.”

During the Thingamajig Fabricators Pre-College Program, participants will receive hands-on experience with 3D design software, machining, CNC automation and welding. Students will incorporate their new skills in building a toolbox, machinist hammer and center punch.

College faculty will lead workshops in the school’s state-of-the-art labs. Sessions will be complemented by guest speakers and tours of regional manufacturing sites.

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