YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Emily Phelps watched the Fanuc robotic arm running at the Brilex Group of Companies booth during Friday’s Manufacturing Day event at Youngstown State University Excellence Training Center.
Phelps, a sophomore at Mahoning County Career and Tech Center, would like to design something and make products. She is looking to go to YSU after high school and take advantage of their educational opportunities. For now, however, the high school student was intrigued by Friday’s employer gang.
“It’s really interesting to hear about all the types of things we can get into,” Phelps said.
The event, hosted by the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Eastern Gateway Community College, brought together representatives from manufacturing-related companies who addressed the 135 high school students and carried out hands-on activities and demonstrations.
David Sipusic, Executive Director of the Training Center of Excellence, said there are many opportunities for these students as they advance and develop their interests.
“On manufacturing day, of course, our focus is on manufacturing here in the valley,” he said. “So to get to our roots, our DNA, the manufacturing, and then to keep our young students and young learners engaged, that’s essential. “
Jackson Douty, a sophomore at MCCTC, said he was intrigued by electrical engineering. It was his father’s work trips to Foerster Instruments Inc. in Salem that sparked his interest.
“I wanted to learn to control all these [machines] and teach someone, ”Douty said. “It’s not going to end in 30 years. It will continue. “
Ultium Cells LLC has more than 100 employees, but plans to have 1,300 on-site when the plant opens in August or September 2022, said Chris Allen, director of human resources for the company.
For high school students, Ultium Cells offers production associate positions working on the factory floor. Those interested can take a 42-hour workforce acceleration program at YSU funded by grants.
“This is called training battery cell operators to train them to prepare for employment with us,” Allen said. “It’s very focused on what we’re looking for in math skills, chemistry, things like that, to make them more aware of what they encounter while working in the factory. “
Individuals employed by Ultium Cells can receive up to $ 8,000 per year in tuition reimbursement for a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Allen adds that there were 10 interns last summer, 85% of which were from YSU. Those interested in applying for an internship or a job can click on HERE.
Ultium Cells has a big push to keep employees here in the Mahoning Valley – either by the hour or at pay – said Allen, with either electrical or chemical engineers, who have a college degree, starting between 53,000 and 56,000. $.
Hourly workers should be “great convenience stores, working independently – doing things on their own with minimal supervision,” he added.
Having these soft skills is important not only for Ultium Cells, but for most areas of the job.
“It’s important that everyone works together to get things done,” Allen said. “We are looking for people who are able to work in a team, able to collaborate and work with different functional areas.
Dearing Compressor and Pump Co.’s human resources coordinator Danielle Lanterman said her company is looking for motivated and ambitious workers who may be mechanically inclined or like welding. Entry-level welding jobs start at $ 12 to $ 15 an hour, but those with experience can start at $ 15 to $ 20 in the 200-person company.
Open positions include welders – pipe and structural – electrical assemblers, robotic welding machine operators, support position for assembly and a setup position for assembly.
From its Youngstown plant, Dearing Compressor packs natural gas compressors for the oil and gas industry, serves and installs for the industrial industry and a Gardner Denver equipment distributor for the Youngstown, Pittsburgh and Cleveland area.
“We can train people if they have the experience, theory and knowledge,” Lanterman said. “Business schools such as the MCCTC, [Columbiana County Career and Technical Center] and the New Castle School of Trades can give these students theory and context. When they come for the work experience, we can train them on our processes and how to do everything they learned in school.
Brooke Waid, communications specialist at Ultium Cells, adds that there is a lot more pressure for STEM-related education in Mahoning Valley schools than when she graduated from Girard High School in 2016. Her first experience was a coding course while she was a marketing major at YSU.
“I can see there is such a surge in high school students and I think it’s great,” she said. “I think it’s really impactful, and I wish I had known more about STEM when I was in school.”
Sipusic said Friday’s event was an eye-opener for these students as they learned what was on the other side of their school-based learning once they learned these skills.
“I can find a job opportunity that pays a really good salary and stay here in the valley,” he said. “It’s critical. We want these young people to see that there is a way to stay here, find a good job and continue to have a family or build your career here in the Youngstown area.
Pictured: Grace Stigliano of the Brilex Group shows Emily Phelps at South Range High School, one of the Fanuc robotic arms the company uses.
Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.