Thursday, March 06, 2014
NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Five years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find Brenda DeVincentis, a guidance counselor at Neshannock High School in New Castle, Pa., walking the factory floor of a local manufacturer.
Indeed, conventional wisdom tells us that few in the academic profession have little reason to visit an assembly line, machine shop, production line, or explore how manufacturers in the region go about designing and making things. A counselor’s job, it’s understood, is spent advising students, not observing welders, machine operators, fitters or grinders.
But a program launched five years ago in Lawrence County seeks to change this by developing a direct conduit between producers and students via their schools’ guidance and career counseling departments.
In short, it’s a “boot camp” that allows counselors to gain firsthand knowledge and experience about industry by visiting various manufacturers in the region, and taking the message back to students, other educators and parents.
“We don’t see what these companies do on a daily basis,” DeVincentis says. “If we don’t know about the companies and what they offer, what kind of job opportunities there are for high school students when they graduate, then how can we put that information out to the students and the parents?” she asks.
So, it’s on a snowy Friday morning in early February that we find DeVincentis huddled not behind a desk, but with 15 others of the same profession watching a welder performing his trade at Advanced Feedscrew Inc., New Castle.
The company manufactures large-diameter feed screws that are used to propel materials such as plastic and rubber in the extrusions and injection-molding process.
“It’s very valuable,” DeVincentis says of the program. “We’ve been doing this now for five years, and we’ve hit almost every local business and manufacturing company in Lawrence County.”
Convincing young people to enter the ranks of industry isn’t easy, she concedes, especially with so many other options available today. Still, business owners and educators are making more of an effort to make students aware of available jobs or post-secondary training that could lead them into a rewarding career in manufacturing and industry….
Read more at the Business Journal