Spotlight: Hudson Valley Pathways Success

This blog has covered a lot of training programs around the country, all of them dedicated to preparing a new generation of manufacturing workers. Today though we’re going to go local so that we can spotlight the Success Story of two P-TECH students: Frank Alicandri and Katharine Navarra.

Frank and Katharine were students in the Hudson Valley Pathways Academy who were just hired for paid internship positions at Fala Technologies, making them the first Pathways students to enter the internship program.

The Council has been a long time supporter of HVPA, which is a P-TECH program, also known as Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The P-TECH model is comprised of a six-year pathway of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) study that leads to earning an associate’s degree from SUNY Ulster (at no cost to the student) and gaining workforce readiness skills that put graduates first in line for available positions with industry partners. Vital partnerships with local industries provide students with mentors and workplace experience.

Mobile Learning: Taking the Tech to the Students

Cutting edge technology like virtual reality is more than most schools’ budget, but what if a mobile classroom could share the cost with multiple districts?

Student’s eyes started to glow as they stepped into the Future Maker Mobile Learning Lab Thursday afternoon at Inman High School.

The lab, which was provided by Wichita Area Technical College, consisted of hands-on learning virtual reality gear where students tested their skills in virtual welding, painting and aircraft assembly.

Three stations were set up in the trailer: welding, painting and aircraft assembly.

Students used a hand-held device to guide them along for the three stations. After completing their tasks, station instructors showed the students how well they did and what they would need to do better next time.

Inside the library, ZSpace computers were set up for students to practice a three-dimensional gravity experiment. The point of the experiment was to not touch the computer screen with their pen and to get the soccer ball through the hoop while wearing 3D glasses.

The final station students were able to participate in was Ozobots, which showcased computer coding on a dry erase board where the robots followed the coding line to the finish line.

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Lowe’s Launches Workforce Development Program

Lowe’s is launching a new workforce development program known as “Track to the Trades.” It will roll out March 1 in Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver; Pittsburgh and Richmond, Virginia.

The platform will offer employees financial assistance to pursue certification for a specific trade skill, such as carpentry, heating and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing and appliance repair. Eligible employees will receive up to $2,500 to complete their education via a partnership with Guild Education.

Read more about it.

New York Manufacturing Survey: The Good News Doesn’t Stop (Yet)

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its monthly survey of New York manufacturers, and once again it cast a sunny outlook with continued growth in everything from business to employment. The only downside being a few indicators suggesting the rate of growth was slowing down compared to last month.

The headline general business conditions index fell five points to 13.1, suggesting a somewhat slower pace of growth than in January. The new orders index and the shipments index were little changed, and indicated ongoing growth in orders and shipments. Unfilled orders increased slightly, and delivery times lengthened. Labor market conditions pointed to a modest increase in employment and hours worked. Input price increases picked up noticeably, with the prices paid index reaching its highest level in several years. Firms remained very optimistic about future business conditions, and capital spending plans continued to be robust.

Read the Full Report for more!

Students get Manufacturing Training from… NASA?

Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity! While many schools have partnered with local industries to inspire a greater interest among their students in manufacturing, this year dozens of high schools affiliated with the nonprofit SME Education Foundation’s program to train future manufacturing workers joined with the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program.

Instead of cruising through his senior year at Hawthorne High School, Alex Lopez arrived early and stayed late. And who wouldn’t, given a rare opportunity at school to work with NASA engineers on a project destined for space.

A new industry partnership designed to boost the country’s manufacturing workforce allowed the 17-year-old to work for months on a special project, crafting custom handrails for astronauts living in microgravity aboard the International Space Station.

How a School District in Maryland put Manufacturing in the Curriculum

This program in Caroline County, Maryland, teaches high-school students manufacturing skills in partnership with local businesses. Started in 2014, Untangled Minds, as it is called, also teaches lean principles, quality control and sustainability.

Untangled Minds’ goal is to get students in a fast-track, career-ready program that would set them up for success in the advanced manufacturing industry right out of high school. From there, the Caroline Career and Technology Center developed the AMP Program in partnership with Untangled Minds, Tanglewood Conservatories and other Mid-Shore businesses.

The AMP program prepares students for local manufacturing careers. Students graduating from the program will be prepared to take the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification.

The program is a hands-on course of study. Students work closely with local businesses to complete projects based on real-world problems. AMP began Jan. 25 at the Caroline Career and Technology Center with 16 high school juniors enrolled.

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First Manufacturing Report of 2018: Steady as She Goes

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released the results of its monthly manufacturing survey for January 2018. As expected, the first report of the new year shows little has changed. The headline general business conditions index, at 17.7, was about the same as it was last month. The new orders index and the shipments index both showed ongoing growth, although at a slower pace than in December. Unfilled orders and delivery times increased slightly, and inventory levels were higher. Both input prices and selling prices increased at a faster pace than last month. Firms remained very optimistic about future business conditions, and capital spending plans were robust.

Read the Full Report

High Tech, Huge Potential – CI Members Visit Spackenkill High School

On Thursday, January 11th, members of the Council of Industry visited Spackenkill High School to talk about workforce opportunities and advanced manufacturing. Council employees demonstrated the career portal designed to educate students and educators about pathways to careers in advanced manufacturing and showed the GoMakeIt video.   

Rob Engle, Vice President of Sono-Tek presented to Intro to Engineering students and discussed wave energy and sound theory. Rob highlighted his commitment to workforce development and the next generation of manufacturing by sharing stories of his mentorship involvement at Hudson Valley Pathways Academy, internship relationships and his role as a judge in the SUNY New Paltz Engineering Students senior project presentations.

Later in the day, President of Schatz Bearing in Poughkeepsie, Dr. Stephen Pomeroy spoke to Principles of Engineering Students about the 4th industrial revolution and artificial intelligence. Dr. Pomeroy encouraged students to consider non-routine careers and the necessity of of life long learning.

The final presenter, Mark Harris from Lodolce Machine talked to students about careers in manufacturing and the apprenticeship program. Mark emphasized the importance of learning programs such as CAD and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and encouraged students to consider credit and non-credit courses offered at local community colleges such as the Advanced Manufacturing programs at SUNY Ulster and Dutchess County Community College.

The relationship with Spackenkill schools is the result of proactive educators including Superintendent Dr. Villanti who reached out to the Council of Industry after reading the HV MFG magazine article about the Council of Industry apprenticeship program. Dr. Villanti and his faculty recognize the importance of informing students about career opportunities at all levels and it is evident in the relationships with the guidance counselors and students.

This is the beginning of a much-appreciated partnership between industry and educators. The students from Spackenkill are hoping to visit local manufacturing companies including Sono-Tek in the coming months and the Council has been invited back to facilitate a workshop about career readiness.   

The Council of Industry continues workforce development outreach and welcomes the opportunity to meet with manufacturers and educators throughout the Hudson Valley. Partnership activities can include classroom or school wide visits, career discussions, job fairs and facility field trips.

For more information about how to participate in our workforce development initiatives or apprenticeship program contact Johnnieanne Hansen, 845-565-1355.

Interested in a career in manufacturing, visit for current openings. 

See How a Pencil is Made

Have you ever wondered how they get the lead (or graphite, nowadays) into a little wooden stick to make a pencil? Or how they attach the eraser to the end? The New York Times has put together a brief, yet fascinating photo essay chronicling the journey young pencils take at the General Pencil Company’s factory in Jersey City, New Jersey. Take a look inside one of the last pencil factories in America to see how this essential everyday object is produced.

See the Rest of the Photos.