The Educational Outreach Award honored Viking Plastics, Dymotek and All-Plastics. Photo courtesy of Creative Technology Corp.
Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) recently held its second annual Educational Outreach Contest. This celebration recognizes manufacturers that coordinated events during the past 12 months to engage young people in the manufacturing industry. Interested companies were asked to provide examples of the ways in which their organizations worked with local schools, programs or students to raise awareness and build interest in the plastics industry. The award honorees were announced on Manufacturing Day, Oct. 6, 2017.
In first place was Viking Plastics located in Corry, Pennsylvania. The second and third place awards went to Dymotek, in Ellington, Connecticut, and All-Plastics, Addison, Texas, respectively. Following is a selection of the information shared in each company’s nomination, providing a sample of the outreach efforts the three plastics processors made throughout the year.
First place: Viking Plastics, Corry, Pennsylvania
More than 160 students tour Viking Plastics annually, including ninth-grade students who visited various departments of the plant this year. Additionally, Lifeskills students from Corry High School trained with the quality team while also working in Viking’s assembly area, gaining more than 20 hours of workplace experience. Company leaders partnered with Corry High School for its Business Week, serving as advisers and presenters. Attending career fairs throughout the year allows Viking employees to meet with more than 250 high school students to show them opportunities in the industry. Viking also discusses internships and career opportunities with 100+ college students twice per year. This year, five college interns received hands-on experience in several manufacturing areas, and the company hires anywhere from four to six interns each year.
Second place: Dymotek, Ellington, Connecticut
At the UConn Student Athlete Career Fair – an event that brings University of Connecticut student athlete alumni back to speak with current student athletes about career possibilities after graduation – an alumnus and Dymotek employee shared the opportunities that exist in manufacturing. The company also participated in Manufacturing Day by opening its doors to the public and providing tours to several area schools. Dymotek also joined a number of other community members to participate in Ashford School’s Career Day in May 2017, focusing on robotics and automated manufacturing. The accounting department at Dymotek Corporation also welcomed a local high school student for a job shadow in the finance department in February 2017. And recently, Dymotek worked with the Connecticut Department of Labor to create a state-sponsored apprenticeship program for process technicians. The program takes an individual on a two-year journey that includes on-the-job training with tooling, quality, process engineering, maintenance and automation.
Third place: All-Plastics, Addison, Texas
For two consecutive years, All-Plastics has hosted accounting students from Schreiner University at its Kerrville facility to present discussions on lean manufacturing and kaizen events. Featuring discussions of bill of materials, costs, margins, standards and manufacturing in great detail, the event also speaks to what products All-Plastics manufactures and future job opportunities in the field of manufacturing. All-Plastics also spent a full day in November 2016 presenting to every health care class at a local high school about careers in health care through manufacturing. Representatives answered questions and discussed types of medical devices that are manufactured through plastic injection molding. The company donates to programs that provide grants for innovative, STEM-based teaching in the classroom. Recently, the company hosted 15 students of the Society of Plastics Engineers from Baylor University at its Addison facility. The event encouraged students at Baylor to join the plastics industry by showing them how fascinating the world of plastics is while allowing them to see real manufacturing first hand.