Delaware-area students learn about manufacturing


Students in Buckeye Valley and Dempsey middle schools’ career-based instruction programs recently celebrated National Manufacturing Day by visiting several Delaware factories.

They visited Sam Dong, Associated Hygienic Products, Federal Heath Sign Co. and Lutava.

The students spent several classes preparing for the trip by taking career assessments, researching a career in manufacturing, and learning about the businesses they would be visiting.

Tina Francis, career-based instruction coordinator at Buckeye Valley Middle School, said that she thinks exposing students to the manufacturing industry is important because “there needs to be more opportunities for everyone.”

Francis’ favorite part of the trip is “seeing all the energy.”

“There’s so much going around you, there’s so much team building,” she said. “It’s not just the machines working; it’s the people coming together to make the machines work.”

According to Francis, “The kids will say they love [the trip] because they get to get out of school, but little do they know that they’re learning math, they’re learning science, they’re learning employability skills.”

“If you’ve ever had the opportunity where you see the light bulb go on over their head, that was happening constantly,” said Francis of the trip. “[The students’] eyes just lit up.”

Mark Watt is the plant manager at Federal Heath Sign Co. and he wrote out a few of his thoughts on the students’ visit to his factory.

He said that he is starting to see manufacturing jobs come back to Ohio, but that he is having trouble finding people with the right skills to work in the fast-paced environment. “I believe that, as a society, we have done a great job of emphasizing the importance of college to our youth, but what about the graduating students who don’t aim for the four-year college degree? I think that (in general) we have failed in educating that sector of high school graduates about other options,” he wrote.

“Without this tour on Manufacturing Day, these kids would never know all the positive paths that await them after graduation … I truly hope that this day really helps them focus on the reality that there is a place in tomorrow’s workforce for them,” Watt said.

“I tell my current employees that the most valuable asset of any company is its workforce. I also believe the most valuable asset of any great county is its youth. We owe it to them to make sure we create job opportunities so they can enjoy the same advantages we had when we were starting out,” he added.

Eighth-grade Buckeye Valley student Martina Bellas said the trip was very educational because it taught her about the things she needs to learn in order to “know how to do important things,” such as building cars or processing goods. She realized that manufacturing workers need to “do these things to let the world work.”

Buckeye Valley Middle School students outside of the Federal Heath Sign Co. building on Oct. 2. Valley Middle School students outside of the Federal Heath Sign Co. building on Oct. 2.

By Megan Neary

For The Gazette

Megan Neary can be reached at [email protected].

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