LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Friday marked National Manufacturing Day, celebrating an important part of the Mahoning Valley’s economy.
Local businesses recognized manufacturing Friday with different events, speakers and open houses. One of those businesses, General Motors Lordstown Complex, opened its doors to students interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing and engineering.
Mahoning County Career and Technical Center students toured the plant and got a look at the 1,200 robots used to produce the Chevrolet Cruze. Plant engineers explained how workers and robots work jointly to build one of the automaker’s best-selling models.
East High School senior Korron Devoe said it was a rare learning opportunity.
“We got to see what a lot of things we deal with in school. You know, we work with a lot of the programming. We work with robots a lot,” Devoe said.
The tour also marks the beginning of a new mentoring partnership between MCCTC and the GM Plant. Lordstown manufacturing engineers, as well as members of the UAW Locals 1112 and 1714, will help support a new MCCTC program — Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative (RAMTEC) — through mentoring.
A Straight-A Grant from the Ohio Department of Education provided a $500,000 grant to purchase robotic and manufacturing equipment for the RAMTEC Program.
“We’re also training the next generation of the engineers and the welders or the precision machinists who are gonna not just use the robots, but build and design the robots as well,” said MCCTC instructor Walter Baber.
Many of the students plan to pursue some sort of engineering career after they graduate, and being able to watch it happen this close only serves to pique their interest, says Austintown Fitch senior James Snyder.
“It kind of broadens and opens my eyes to what we’ve talked about last year and this year in school, about the whole manufacturing process,” he said.
There was also a focus on new manufacturing in downtown Youngstown on Friday. The theme was the need for innovators and big idea people to work in the industry.
Congressman Tim Ryan and Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed visited the Youngstown Business Incubator and America Makes. Ryan says Youngstown is the center of innovation when it comes to re-making the industry.
“Whether it’s through Youngstown State, or through the Business Incubator or through America Makes, there’s a lot of innovation happening here in Youngstown. This is how you grow your way into a strong middle class, a stronger economy.”
Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams also attended the event. He left the city to take a job in the Obama Administration, and is currently assistant secretary of commerce.