Middle Schoolers Learn About the High-Tech Side of Factories
Students from the Delaware County Christian School were surprised during their visit to New Way Air Bearings. “When I thought about manufacturing before I always thought about people standing in a line making cars. It’s all dark and dusty and everything. Now it’s not assembly line anymore. It’s a lot more difficult and a lot more high-tech,” says Levi Dentel, one of the 8th graders putting together a video highlighting New Way Air Bearings for the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” student video contest.
The contest was created in 2013 by the Manufacturers Resource Center in Allentown, PA and pairs local middle schools with manufacturing companies throughout the state of Pennsylvania. Although the program has its roots in the Lehigh Valley, it has now expanded to 15 regions in Pennsylvania and 11 additional states.
Last year was the first time New Way participated in the contest for the Chester/Delaware County region. The video produced by Radnor Middle School in Wayne, PA won the award for Outstanding Creativity. This year, New Way has been paired with students from the Delaware County Christian School. The group of students will work together to create a video that showcases what New Way does in a way that will interest their generation.
Introducing students to the cool side of manufacturing
“Local manufacturing has gone high-tech and presents a viable and lucrative career option for the next generation,” says Nick Hackett, President of New Way Air Bearings. “There are some really cool high technology manufacturing companies in the area but nobody knows about that,” he explains. “The program really helps to overcome the idea that manufacturing is an old dirty steel mill and it’s hot and nasty.”
Christi Rhine, the 6th and 7th-grade english teacher at DCCS values what the program does for her students, “The program teaches my students to communicate and to take leadership roles as opposed to looking to me to lead them. It has them step into roles of decision making and planning ahead and developing storylines which are all things they need to learn.”
The program also generates interest and awareness for the new face of manufacturing in the community as a whole. Manufacturing is no longer producing the same part a billion times. The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing Contest helps young people see that manufacturing really is very high-tech and more intriguing career-wise then they may have thought.
Giving back to the community
New Way is no stranger to the community. Hackett shares how important it is to New Way to be involved in the community. “Part of our vision statement for the company is to be Philadelphia based and community partnered. We found that doing things like this or bring your kid to work day or supporting Manufacturing Day, we feel like we give back a little bit by opening our doors up to allow the public to come in and see what we do here,”
And New Way has once again gone above and beyond for these students and teachers. “New Way has been wonderful,” says Rhine. “Mr. Hackett and the other employees at New Way really took the time to help us understand what frictionless motion is so we can make a video that shows some comprehension of the product.”
Sarah Stahl, one of the 8th graders working on the video noted how all the employees she spoke with seem enthusiastic about their jobs. She asked Kenyah Harbin, an assembler, why she liked working at New Way. Harbin responded, “I worked for three other companies and this company is really family oriented and everyone gets along. Everybody, in each department, is helping each other to get to one goal.”
One thing that really piqued Sarah’s interest is how the collaborative environment and Porous Media TechnologyTM lets New Way create components to manufacture products that she uses or has heard about in her everyday life. Things like cell phone screens and CAT Scan machines. “It’s been a really cool experience,” she says.
Past and future videos
Hackett is excited to continue working with the event in future years, “It’s taught us to look at our business from the eyes of a 13-year-old and in the process to realize how exciting and cool it is.”
Rhine also recommends New Way to any future schools that participate in the program. “New Way has invested a lot of time in helping us understand what they’re doing and how their business goes from concept to design to manufacture. They’ve been very accommodating and really have bent over backward to bring it to a level that we can really grasp and run with,”she explained.
Stay tuned to the What’s So Cool About Manufacturing website for the 2019 videos and check out the 2018 video by Radnor Middle School on New Way Air Bearings that won the award for Outstanding Creativity.