Sunday, January 8, 2017

Manufacturers highlight engineering careers to support student STEM education


Across the nation, we see concerning statistics regarding the number of students interested in science-, technology-, engineering-, and mathematics-related (STEM) careers. This growing shortage of science-based talent will present a serious problem in our workplaces and universities, as STEM-based expertise forms the heart of our high-technology society and economy.

By understanding the science and math behind various life situations, students gain an appreciation for engineering and become more invested in their classroom lessons. Applying engineering, science, math, and technology knowledge and skills to solve complex open-ended problems in a real-world context is the goal of Saucon Valley High School's (SVHS) Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering program in Pennsylvania. Recently, 50 SVHS students enrolled in this curriculum will visit three Easton manufacturers – Victaulic, Crayola, and Follett – to see engineers in action.

"The fastest growing careers require science, technology, engineering and math knowledge at the core," says Eric Luftig, Victaulic vice president. "Together with our colleagues at Crayola and Follett, we are committed to inspiring young people to consider STEM disciplines and help prepare them for the future." Monica McHale-Small, Saucon Valley School District superintendent, adds, "A critical step in making science and math engaging and relevant to students is providing them with authentic, real-life experiences."

All three manufacturers are no stranger to promoting their science, technology, engineering and mathematics opportunities, with involvement in the Dream It. Do It. PA's "What's So Cool About Manufacturing?" video contest. They join 27 other regional manufacturers in the 2017 initiative, which invites students inside manufacturing facilities to discover STEM jobs and help change perceptions and attitudes in the Keystone State about advanced manufacturing careers.

Recently, Victaulic, Crayola and Follett also partnered for "Stuff the Bus," a community initiative to collect school supplies for students at Cheston Elementary in Easton. A total of 600 backpacks were assembled and distributed during the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley's annual Day of Caring event.

Since 1919, Victaulic has designed and produced mechanical pipe-joining solutions. The company has 13 manufacturing facilities and 30 branches worldwide with 3,600 employees. With over 1900 patents, Victaulic solutions are at work in more than 120 countries across diverse business lines including oil, gas and chemical, mining, power generation, water and wastewater treatment, military and marine, as well as commercial building and fire protection. For more information visit www.victaulic.com.

Crayola, based in Easton since 1903 and a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, manufactures children's creative expression products such as Crayons.

Founded in 1948, Follett designs and manufactures equipment for the foodservice and healthcare markets, including ice machines, ice and water dispensers, ice storage and transport equipment, and medical-grade refrigerators and freezers.

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