Manufacturing Day a Success in Southwest Florida
Rotary broach cutting tool manufacturer Polygon Solutions participated in National Manufacturing Day by introducing students, parents, teachers and others to manufacturing fundamentals and the need for skilled trade workers.
Polygon Solutions Inc. (Fort Myers, FL) was one of more than 200 companies nationwide to participate in the first annual National Manufacturing Day on October 5, 2012. The event highlighted the importance of manufacturing to the U.S. economy and showcases the rewarding, highly skilled jobs available in manufacturing fields. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM; Washington, DC) and the Manufacturing Institute (Washington, DC), along with the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA; Rockford, IL) and the U.S. Commerce Department’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, are co-producers of the event.
Earlier this year, Polygon Solutions chose to sponsor Lee Virtual School (Fort Myers, FL) in the Adopt a School program with the Manufacturers Association of Florida’s (MAF; Tallahassee, FL) Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence. Polygon created a special agenda for the parents and students of Lee Virtual School including a real-world exercise where the team worked on a project and saw the part manufactured from start to finish. The event is also held in conjunction with the “MAF Dream It! Do It!” campaign.
Developed in 2005 by the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the NAM, this campaign addresses the growing shortage of skilled workers through a recruitment strategy promoting a clear understanding of today’s high-tech manufacturing industry and its contribution to innovation, productivity, economic growth, and high-quality manufacturing and STEM careers. A recent study shows that 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled in the United States due to a gap in the job requirements and the skills within the workforce.
The National Manufacturing Day activities were kicked off by Peter Bagwell, a product engineer for Polygon, and Betsy Allen, the executive director of the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association (SRMA; Ft. Myers, FL). Bagwell introduced the students, parents, teachers and SRMA members to manufacturing fundamentals and the need for skilled trade workers. Next, the project was coordinated and students measured parts and came up with work orders for the shop. During the factory tour, students were able to watch their part being made and ask questions about the process. In the end, the class held the finished product in their hands.
Angie Nichols, an SRMA member and consultant with Oasis Outsourcing, said, “It is wonderful to see students seeing and learning about options for their livelihood at such a young age!” Elijah Lefkowitz, a teacher at Lee Virtual, noted, “I loved the field trip to Polygon Solutions. It was both educational and entertaining. The students got hands on experience as they participated in the manufacturing process. As a teacher, I know how tough it is to get students interested in science and careers. This field trip exposed the students to real world STEM: science, technology, engineering and math. It also might have opened their eyes to the field of manufacturing. Prior to the field trip, most of them had no idea about manufacturing. I look forward to next year’s national manufacturing day, so I can take another group of students to Polygon Solutions.”
Polygon Solutions manufactures rotary broach cutting tools for the precision turning industry and is part of a growing number of manufacturers in Southwest Florida that are committed to staying on the cutting edge of machine tool innovation. Bagwell commented, “We were very happy to host the students here at our facility, and hope to participate in other events that help introduce young people to exciting things that are happening today in manufacturing. Young people have great observations about how things are made.” www.polygonsolutions.com