Foundation honors Penn College’s dedication to manufacturing

Published 10.31.2022

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A national foundation devoted to manufacturing’s future has honored Pennsylvania College of Technology’s efforts that inspire the next generation to consider the sector’s rewarding careers.

Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs, the charitable foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, bestowed the Future of Industry Award to the college during a recent ceremony in Des Plaines, Illinois. The honor is presented to a school or organization that has created a successful and sustainable summer manufacturing program that exposes young people to the industry and its career options.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Michael R. Allen, instructor and co-department head of welding, and Kathleen D. Chesmel, assistant dean for materials science and engineering technologies (at left), accepted the Future of Industry Award for the college from Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs during a recent ceremony in Des Plaines, Ill. The charitable foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, NBT presented the award to Penn College for its summer Pre-College Program that introduces manufacturing careers to high school students. Also shown are Bryan Hawkins, representing Hawkeye Industries (Power of Industry Award), and Michael and Mia Shaluly, of Mastercut Tool Corp. (Impact on Industry Award).“I am proud to present this year’s award to Pennsylvania College of Technology in recognition of their commitment to expanding manufacturing camps and raising awareness of manufacturing careers throughout the commonwealth,” said Ed Dernulc, NBT Foundation director.

For the past two years, the college has conducted the weeklong Thingamajig Fabricators Pre-College Program for students entering grades 9-12. Faculty lead hands-on workshops in the college’s state-of-the-art labs, exposing students to various facets of manufacturing. Guest speakers and tours of regional manufacturing sites complement the program.

Last summer, 20 students experienced 3D design, machining, CNC automation and welding before incorporating their new skills in building a toolbox, machinist hammer and center punch.

Grant funding awarded to NBT through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Program supports the camp.

“We are truly honored that our efforts to grow the manufacturing workforce have been recognized by NBT,” said Kathleen D. Chesmel, assistant dean for materials science and engineering technologies, who accepted the award on behalf of the college with Michael R. Allen, instructor and co-department head of welding. “It’s essential for our nation’s economic health that we address the skills gap in manufacturing. We are optimistic that our commitment is having an impact.”

A study conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that U.S. manufacturing could have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, and the cost of those missing jobs might total $1 trillion in 2030 alone.

“It’s quite common for our students seeking an associate or bachelor’s degree in a manufacturing-related discipline to have multiple job offers long before graduation,” Chesmel said. “Employers representing numerous industries are in desperate need of their hands-on, technical skills.”

Chesmel anticipates that Penn College’s summer 2023 NBT manufacturing Pre-College Program will be geared to young women. Despite representing nearly half the nation’s workforce, women hold less than a third of manufacturing jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For information on Penn College’s various manufacturing degrees and other majors offered by the School of Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Photo provided by NBT