Middle Schoolers Learn About the High-Tech Side of Factories
For the third year in a row, New Way Air Bearings ® was proud to participate in the What’s Cool about Manufacturing initiative. This year New Way partnered with the E.T. Richardson Middle School from Springfield, PA to offer them a unique look behind the scenes at one of the Delaware Valley’s fastest growing, high tech companies. Along the way, students were able to document their experience for the What’s So Cool 2020 video contest and learn that at New Way, giving back to the community is more than just a saying.
The What’s So Cool About Manufacturing contest was created by the Manufacturer’s Resource Center in 2013 to further the goal of introducing middle school age students to local manufacturing companies, as well as educating them about potential career opportunities they may wish to explore in their academic future. What started in Allentown, PA has now spread to more than a dozen states, and New Way has been an active participant since 2017 when they hosted the Radnor Middle School from Wayne, PA (winning an award for outstanding creativity), and then the Delaware County Christian School in 2018. The What’s So Cool program itself has been so successful in its mission to educate that it won a National Educational Telecommunications Associations Award (NECA) for outstanding engaged learning.
This year on November 1st, New Way proudly opened our doors to the students of E.T Richardson Middle School for a comprehensive tour of our manufacturing facility. The students were introduced to air bearing technology by the President of New Way Air Bearings ®, Nick Hackett.
“It’s been very encouraging to see the maturity and passion of some of the kids involved in the program. It’s also made us realize that we are doing something ‘cool’ and that we have the opportunity and responsibility to improve awareness in the community,” Hackett said.
As happy as New Way was to host such a bright and inquisitive cohort of students, they were just as grateful for the chance to learn and document their experience. Speaking to her experience at New Way, Lydia Kirkpatrick an 8th grader from E. T Richardson said:
“This is a really cool product they make here. I had no idea before I came here how cool it was and how cool manufacturing in general is. I’m very thankful New Way allowed us to come.”
Lydia and her classmates used their day at New Way to learn all about non contact conveyance and air bearings, and then to document their experience. What’s Cool about Engineering doesn’t simply match schools to local manufacturing businesses, it organizes a video competition wherein each school films their day at their respective business, interviewing employees, scripting a video and finally entering their submission to be judged at an awards night in early 2020 where their parents, teachers and participating companies will be there to cheer them on.
Whilst New Way is always enthusiastic about giving back to the community that’s helped to make it one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in America as well as a Deloitte Fast 50 Technology company for the Philadelphia area, STEM engagement is more important than it’s ever been. Standing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM initiatives work to foster an interest in technology and innovation, primarily aimed at middle and high school aged students. Aside from the generally high pay associated with STEM jobs, where 93% pay above the minimum wage, STEM initiatives engage students at the height of their interest in technology, which peaks at age 11 and tapers off by age 15.
Active involvement in STEM programs like What’s Cool About Manufacturing reaffirms New Ways’s commitment to the next generation of engineers, designers, and innovators. Programs like What’s Cool couldn’t arrive at a better time, as STEM jobs are projected to grow by 13% by 2027, compared to 9% in non technical fields. Furthermore the highest growth sector is anticipated to be in advanced manufacturing, with fields such as 3D printing and non contact conveyance finally reaching maturity. As a leader in advanced manufacturing, New Way understands that it’s pioneering position in the field also imbues it with the responsibility and power to nurture inquiring minds about what manufacturing and engineering can offer them, both intellectually and professionally, and we are proud to be a continuing partner to What’s Cool about Manufacturing.
Follow along with What’s So Cool about Manufacturing at their website and check out the 2019 videos as well as the 2018 video by Radnor Middle School on New Way Air Bearings that won an award for outstanding creativity.