By Colm Ashe
Huntington institutions are meeting the future head on as they prepare local students for jobs in manufacturing technology.
LaunchPad in Huntington, Workforce Development Institute and South Huntington school district have teamed up with student leaders from grades 6-12, STEM teachers and more to create the Manufacturing Technology Task Force, an initiative aiming to provide teachers and students with hands-on experience with industry-relevant technology.
In the last 12 months, more than 200 Long Island manufacturers posted at least 2,300 tech-related jobs. However, some parents and students are not aware these jobs exist right in their home area.
The partnership’s overall mission is to create a program that mutually benefits students, teachers and local businesses alike. The MTTF plans to teach applicable skill sets and provide a fine-tuned curriculum accompanied by internship and apprenticeship opportunities for prospective high school students.
On May 27, WDI organized a school trip to East/West Industries, a Ronkonkoma manufacturing company that develops and produces aircraft seats and life support systems for high-performance military aircraft. Kids from grades 6-12 and school staff toured the facility and learned about the entire process with special emphasis on the engineering and 3-D printing. They also viewed video footage showcasing the products, design and testing, and got the chance to meet with staff. East/West has further plans to develop a 3-D printing curriculum so students can learn the skills and careers possibilities waiting in their own backyard.
That same weekend, the students got a taste of how this work can affect the world around them as they watched Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornets fly over Long Island at the Jones Beach air show, knowing the pilots were sitting on survival kits they had seen manufactured.
This relationship between curious students and surrounding business is the focal point of the MTTF’s mission. South Huntington assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, Jared Bloom, hopes this collaborative effort will produce “a first-of-its-kind curriculum that meets the needs of the district while providing experts in the field an opportunity to share their vision and provide direct guidance and support.”
Phil Rugile, director of LaunchPad in Huntington, echoes this sentiment, saying the organization is working toward a future where “students develop skills that are appropriate and relevant to open positions that are not getting filled.” Rugile believes this is “a huge step towards creating a meaningful alliance that will produce tangible results.”
This initiative is a part of a bigger mission to connect Long Island schools with manufacturers in an effort to generate a sustainable workforce pipeline and connect emerging workforces with job opportunities.
At the recent Manufacturing Innovation Conference co-hosted by WDI and LaunchPad Huntington, guests learned there are thousands of well-paid manufacturing occupations — particularly in the field of technology. Throughout the last 12 months, more than 200 Long Island manufacturers posted at least 2,300 tech-related jobs. However, some parents and students are not aware these jobs exist right in their home area. This is why MTTF joined forces to herald in the optimistic news regarding Long Island’s bright future in job growth and development.
The ripples of these progressive actions go beyond merely providing security — they are instilling students with a profound new sense of purpose. When Tyler Daniel from Stimson Middle School was asked what a manufacturing job is, he responded, “When you make a product that makes a difference in people’s lives.” Clearly, this initiative is teaching kids how to succeed in the ever-changing world of technological advancement.