Manufacturing Day to Educate High School Students About Future Careers

TROY, N.Y. — Manufacturing — the physical creation of products — touches nearly every aspect of our lives, from the phones in our hands and the cars that we drive, to the renewable energy that will power our world and the next generation of biopharmaceuticals.

On Friday, October 25, high school students from across the Capital Region will have an opportunity to tour the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute campus and learn about the pioneering and advanced manufacturing technologies and research that will enable the creation of faster computers, increasingly powerful wind turbines, more precise medication, and innovations that haven’t even been thought of yet. Events, which begin at 8:45 a.m., are open to reporters.

“When people think of manufacturing, they often think of the auto, clothing, and appliance industries, and they aren’t wrong, but modern manufacturing is also much more than that,” said Shekhar Garde, the dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer. “It encompasses every area that will be critical to the future of humanity, from medicine, to food, to renewable energy.”

Manufacturing Day at Rensselaer will bring alumni in the manufacturing field back to campus for a “Champions of Manufacturing” panel discussion. Their experiences with GE Renewable Energy, Lockheed Martin, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Simmons will give students a deeper understanding of the diverse career paths within the manufacturing arena.

“There’s a very nice synergy between industry and academia here at Rensselaer,” said Sam Chiappone, the director of manufacturing innovation at Rensselaer. “Industry partners recognize the valuable problem-solving skills our students gain here and are happy to contribute to their education. In turn, our students graduate well-equipped to become leaders and innovators who engineer new manufacturing technologies and design and implement advanced manufacturing systems to meet the demand of today’s industry.”

One of the highlights of the day — weather permitting — will be the landing of a Black Hawk helicopter by the New York National Guard on the ’86 Field in the middle of campus at 9:50 a.m. Not only will students learn about the manufacturing that goes into building an aircraft of that size and complexity, but also they will have an opportunity to see the impressive helicopter technologies up close.  

“Opportunities like this, for high school students to see firsthand how a career in engineering can have a global impact, are vitally important,” said Elizabeth Herkenham, the education outreach director for the School of Engineering. “Days like this can introduce possibilities students didn’t know were out there.”

Rensselaer’s Eighth Annual National Manufacturing Day has been made possible by the generous contributions of premier sponsors Chief Executives Network for Manufacturing of the Capital Region Inc. (CEN), a not-for-profit member organization comprised of more than 45 small and medium-sized manufacturing business in the Capital Region, and The Center for Economic Growth (CEG), a professional economic and business development engine serving as the primary point of contact for businesses interested in growing in, or moving to, New York’s Capital Region.

In-kind support from many other partner organizations was also critical in the execution of this event, including: Snap-on, Sandvik, HFO Allendale, Sikorsky - a Lockheed Martin Company, GE Renewable Energy, Regeneron, Simmons, New York National Guard, City of Troy, and Rensselaer’s Manufacturing Innovation Learning Lab.