March 18, 2016 - "When am I ever going to have to use physics or trigonometry in the real world?"
It may be a common complaint throughout every high school in the nation, but one engineering class from Valley Central High School discovered that not only are math and science skills valuable – in some industries they’re absolutely critical and having a skill set in these subjects is advantageous in the job market.
Students from Nick Longo’s Introduction to Engineering class visited President Container, a corrugated container manufacturing company whose plant is located in Middletown, New York. The company has formed a partnership of sorts with students in Valley Central High School. President Container’s vice president of operations, Richard Goldberg, visits Mr. Longo’s class to talk about engineering and manufacturing projects that the students are working on in class at least every other week. Four classes have completed tours of the factory in the past two years, and two qualified students have received internships from President Container.
Mr. Goldberg kicked off the meeting with the students with an impromptu math quiz that the company gives to job applicants. He spoke to the importance of developing life-skill habits such as managing time, health and life and about the impact that decisions have, using the example of coming in late to work and causing another co-worker to miss picking up his child from the bus.
Cindy Kuebler, Quality Manager at President Container, also implored students to get an education in subjects that they find interesting, pointing out the many different departments that make up a plant, such as shipping and transit, sales, manufacturing as well as executive-level positions such as CEO and the vice president.
“In general, kids have no idea what manufacturing is other than things are made,” Richard Golberg, Vice President of Operations at President Container said. “This allows for a much closer look at the careers and majors that are available in the industry.”
The students then split up into two groups and toured President Container’s manufacturing facility. From conveyor belts, to ink rooms, to shredding stations, the students walked around the plant as Ms. Kuebler explained all the different aspects that go into the manufacture and design of corrugated materials.
“It’s a practical application of the sciences that we learn about in class,” Mr Longo said.
When the tours were complete, Mr. Goldberg asked the group which types of sciences they had seen utilized in the plant. The students shouted out answers one by one – “chemical” “mechanical” “environmental” “robotic engineering” “electrical engineering.”
“It was interesting to learn about the types of engineering used to make corrugated materials and to see the ink room and to see the type of chemistry that you would need to know,” VCHS senior student Michael Tyndale said. “What I learned in class helped me to understand all the different aspects that go in to manufacturing.”