Arconic Foundation and Kawneer Partner with Central Columbia to Prepare Students for Careers in Manufacturing

Axel Heinrich, plant manager at Kawneer’s Bloomsburg facility, talked to Central Columbia students about the creative opportunities in modern manufacturing at a June 5 event at the High School.

The Arconic Foundation and Kawneer have partnered with the SME Education Foundation to make available education opportunities for students of Central Columbia High School, in a collaboration formed through the Foundation’s Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME) schools initiative.

SME PRIME schools directly address the manufacturing and engineering talent shortage by partnering with industry to inform and provide modern equipment, tailored curriculum and hands-on training to high schools across the country. The national program provides students with practical experience, knowledge and skills using state-of-the-art technology and equipment, while allowing companies to support the career direction of youth through mentoring, internships and job shadowing. Central students have already received certification in precision measurement through the donation of Starrett tools. The most recent training tool for students is a FANUC robotic arm, which was recently set up at the school.

At an event to talk about the partnership on June 5t, Axel Heinrich, plant manager at Kawneer’s Bloomsburg facility, expressed optimism for the future of manufacturing in America. This program helps young people understand that modern manufacturing is a collaborative and creative environment, not dirty and repetitious. “After 27 years in manufacturing, I still get excited,” said Heinrich.

Other area manufacturers represented at the event included Bloomsburg Carpet, CSS Industries, Girton Manufacturing, and SEKISUI SPI.

“The launch of this partnership marks our continued commitment to preparing students for future opportunity in manufacturing,” said Harry Mathias, superintendent of the Central Columbia School District. “The support we’ve received from our business community and local leaders has been phenomenal, and we’re encouraged by this partnership to help our talented students thrive.” Since 2011, SME PRIME schools have reached more than 50,000 students in 47 communities across 22 states. 84% of graduating SME PRIME students intend to pursue careers in manufacturing, and 60% of those students planned to pursue postsecondary education in a field directly related to manufacturing.