The largest trade organization in the United States applauded the Da Vinci Science Center and its Summer of Manufacturing partners Thursday, calling their collaboration a model to be followed in communities across the nation.
Speaking at the Center’s Lehigh Valley Manufacturing Summit in Allentown, Pa., Emily DeRocco – President of The Manufacturing Institute, Washington, D.C., and Senior Vice President of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) – said such efforts are of critical importance to national strength and security. DeRocco said this particular educational effort is unique because it has been driven by a nonprofit science center with strong industry support.
“Manufacturing is not going to be successful in the future unless we can encourage more young people to pursue careers in our industry,” DeRocco said. “One way of doing that is to introduce students to the amazing feats of manufacturing. The Da Vinci Science Center and its Summer of Manufacturing gives students a window into that world. This is truly a national model and one that I hope can be replicated around the country to reignite students’ imagination and passion for manufacturing.”
The Da Vinci Science Center’s Summer of Manufacturing – presented by Air Products – is anchored by the Center’s presentation of the feature How People Make Things exhibit, inspired by the Mister Rogers’ Factory Tours. Thursday’s summit was held to develop partnerships and processes toward a skilled workforce for a thriving manufacturing industry throughout eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. The summit was held in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board (LVWIB). The Summer of Manufacturing’s principles will be carried forward through long-term strategies developed during Thursday’s summit, said Troy A. Thrash, Executive Director and CEO of the Da Vinci Science Center.
Nearly 100 industry leaders, elected officials, and educators attended Thursday’s summit in the Tompkins College Center at Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Pa. Opening remarks were presented through video by U.S. Rep. Charles W. Dent of Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district.
The summit also included a regional call to action by Thrash; an address by Eugene D. Ervin, Chair of LVWIB; small-group discussion sessions; and an hour-long manufacturer’s roundtable discussion led by Jack Pfunder, Executive Director and CEO of the Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) of Bethlehem, Pa. Representatives from Allen Organ Company, Ashland Technologies, ATAS International, Inc., Bracalente Manufacturing Group, B. Braun, Inc., and FLSmidth participated in the public roundtable.
The Da Vinci Science Center’s Summer of Manufacturing’s goals include raising awareness of the power and vibrancy manufacturing has in today’s world, the cutting-edge manufacturing of the future, and the skills young people will need to build fulfilling careers in that industry.
The Center and its partners also seek to share information about manufacturing of which people are likely not aware, Thrash said. That information includes the fact that the United States remains the largest manufacturing economy in the world, that American manufacturers perform two-thirds of the nation’s research and development, that Pennsylvania’s manufacturing economy is one of the largest in the nation, and that the manufacturing sector is the largest contributor to Pennsylvania’s economy.
The Summer of Manufacturing is supported by the County of Lehigh. Additional sponsors are: Allen Organ Company of Macungie, Pa.; ATAS International, Inc., of Allentown, Pa.; B. Braun, Inc., with operations in Allentown, Pa. and Bethlehem, Pa.; FLSmidth, with operations in Bethlehem, Pa.; Bracalente Manufacturing Group of Trumbauersville, Pa.; Silberline Manufacturing of Tamaqua, Pa.; Nestlé Waters North America, with operations Breinigsville, Pa.; Ashland Technologies of Hegins, Pa.; HindlePower of Easton, Pa.; and Follett Corporation of Easton, Pa.
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