YSU’s Excellence Training Center hosts students to learn about manufacturing careers

YSU’s Excellence Training Center hosts students

YOUNGSTOWN — Carson Nagy isn’t completely certain what path his life will take after high school, but the nuts and bolts of his future seem to be solidly in place.

“I’m looking at becoming an engineer, but I may go into a machining job. The trades are the best thing to go into right now; the field is in demand now,” the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center sophomore observed.

Perhaps a more solid foundation has been built for Carson to achieve his goals because he was among about 200 area high school students who took part in a Manufacturing Day event Friday at YSU’s Excellence Training Center on Commerce Street.

The four-hour gathering was to give the students a chance to learn more about — and better understand the many career opportunities in — the manufacturing sector, noted Wim Steelant, dean of YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Participants also were given a variety of hands-on activities and demonstrations.

“This area is in big need of trade skills,” he said.

YSU’s College of STEM, Eastern Gateway Community College and the Excellence Training Center hosted the event, which also featured classroom sessions that covered career opportunities in robotics, commercial printing, machining, industry maintenance and other related fields.

Nevertheless, enrollment in STEM has decreased, even though the field has a 100 percent job placement rate, meaning those who receive such a degree are guaranteed a good-paying job. Many young people are leaving the Mahoning Valley after graduation, and the COVID-19 pandemic possibly has frightened others, Steelant said in explaining two key reasons for the trend.

Carson, however, was anything but frightened as he spoke with a variety of industry representatives at the gathering. He was among the high school students who inquired about job and hiring possibilities as well as other company offerings.

Animal science is Emily Phelps’ primary interest, but she is considering a career in engineering if her main goal falls through. At one point during the event, Emily, an MCCTC sophomore, was interested in discovering how a sophisticated robotic arm performed a simple assembly operation by lifting and placing small screwdrivers into a container in a sequential manner.

Industry participants were Vallourec, Commercial Metal Forming, Lordstown Motors Corp., Ohio Star Forge Co., JuggerBot 3D, Dearing Compressor and Pump Co., Brilex Group of Companies, Butech Bliss, Humtown Products, Ultium Cells LLC, City Machine Technologies Inc., Gasser Chair Co. Inc., Cargill, Hynes Industries, Trivium Aluminum Packaging Corp. and Taylor-Winfield Technologies Inc.

“We’re looking for skilled machine operators,” Kayla Panning, a recruiter for Trivium Aluminum Packaging, said.

The 29-year-old Youngstown company, formerly Exal Corp., specializes in making metal packaging that is “infinitely recyclable,” and prides itself on being environmentally friendly, she said.

The process typically begins with small, round pieces of metal, called slugs, which are extruded into cylinders and trimmed to the proper size before printing is added and the products’ necks are shaped to form varying sized containers, Panning explained. She added that the business also occasionally hires production workers.

Salem-based Butech Bliss, which has about 300 employees in its three plants, also is seeking to fill positions for welders, machinists and skilled assembly technicians, Lisa Kravec, the company’s marketing manager, noted.

“There’s more manufacturing (in the region) than people realize,” she said.

Noel Mackenzie, Butech’s sales engineer, added that the business caters largely to the steel industry via providing equipment to refine the material before it’s rolled, cut to a standard width and eventually used to make washing machines, refrigerators and other common household items, he explained.

Mackenzie echoed Kravec’s assessment of the local manufacturing landscape, saying that opportunities await those who are interested — especially since many older workers are retiring.

“There’s a ton of jobs out there,” he added.



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