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Local Manufacturing Panelists Share Industry Knowledge with Students

Local manufacturing professionals took part in two panel discussions at Lorain County JVS on Tuesday, October 9th, as part of a month long celebration of National Manufacturing Month.

Annette McIver, Lorain County JVS Career Services Specialist, who organized the day’s events, said that the sessions involved the junior and senior classes from Precision Machine Technology, and Computerized Design and Drafting, as well as freshman students, to allow them to gain some insight into the manufacturing field.

McIver felt that hosting an employer panel would allow the students to hear first-hand about careers in manufacturing. “Having such strong support from local manufacturing companies is key in giving JVS students a realistic look at 21st century manufacturing companies. In return, the companies had an opportunity to get an early glimpse at the upcoming talent pipeline.”

The foundation of manufacturing knowledge the students are getting at JVS is something all the panelist agreed on. Kendra Scholle, Human Resource Generalist at Whirlaway Corporation said, “We have partnered with the precision machine technology program and the knowledge they come into the business with, having started with the manual machines, gives them a great foundation on which to build.”

Ryan Beane, EMC Precision Maintenance Team Lead and JVS 2013 precision machine technology alum, told the students that not only are the skills they are learning in lab important, but their academic courses are critical as well. “I know you might not want to hear this,” Beane joked, “but keep up with your math. I’m sorry to say that I goofed off in math class, and it is a slap in the face when your boss says ‘hey figure this out’ and you are left to do just that.”

Not letting fear get in the way was a message Jim Tyree, General Manager of General Plug, shared with the students. “Don’t be afraid to try something, don’t be afraid to fail at it and learn from your peers. These three simple things will allow you to succeed in your careers.”

Along with hearing the panelists share their stories and knowledge, students were given the opportunity to ask questions. The first questioned that was asked was what a normal day at work looked like. All the panelists were quick to answer, that there is no normal or typical day.

“I’ll let you know when that happens,” said Scholle with a laugh.

Tyree added, “Manufacturing for me is never having a normal day. Every day is different. Every day is challenging. The cool thing is, is the excitement of that. What’s the next thing that might go wrong, what’s the next ah-ah moment, how can we make the customer extra happy, how can we reduce cost. There is no normal day in manufacturing, just productive days.”

Christopher Farr, precision machine technology junior from Midview, thought the panel discussions were very informative. “Hearing from these employers today helped me better understand what different companies are looking for and what they expect from us, as we come out of high school.”

A resounding theme with all the panel members was how important a good attitude is. They all shared how having a positive attitude and a willingness to learn will take them as far as they want to go. Tyree said, “It is one hundred percentage about attitude. Don’t be lazy and have a bad attitude. I’m looking around this room and picking out who is paying attention and I’ll remember you.”