Students experience manufacturing camp at Penn College | News, Sports, Jobs


A handful of high school students are receiving a closeup look this week at some of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s manufacturing programs.

The college is one of six Summer Manufacturing Camps being funded through a grant received by Nuts, Bolts & Thingamjigs ​​(NBT), a charitable foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International.

On Monday, state Department of Community and Economic Development Acting Secretary Neil Weaver toured the different manufacturing programs at the campus.

Weaver made it clear that manufacturing jobs are very much part of the nation’s future for building the economy and providing jobs.

He noted that a traditional four-year college degree at a liberal arts college is simply no longer the standard for carving out a career.

“It’s important to be here today to see first-hand the excitement and enthusiasm these students have for manufacturing,” he said.

Mark Sneidman, instructor of plastics and polymer engineering, said the camp is an excellent means of introducing students to new concepts.

“One of the best things we can do for our program is getting them here,” he said. “It gets them exposed.”

With a laugh, he described the camp as “an open house on steroids.”

At one point, Weaver asked the students learning the basics of plastics and polymer engineering if it’s a program they might want to consider.

Two of the students responded that they were just checking things out.

Bradley Webb, dean of engineering technologies, said, “Our students can write their own tickets.”

The camps are to receive hands-on experience with 3D design software, machining, computer numerical control (CNC) automation and welding.

In May, Gov. Wolf announced $79,050 in funding for NBT to hold a half-dozen camps this year and 12 in 2023.

The camps are meant to increase public awareness of manufacturing careers in a particular region while providing students with the opportunity to engage in manufacturing.

“The skills gap in manufacturing is very real. It’s estimated that we could have more than two million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030,” Kathy D. Chesmel, assistant dean of materials science and engineering technology, said. “The Thingamajig Pre-College Program is a tremendous opportunity to introduce students to the rich possibilities available to them in a variety of manufacturing sectors.”

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