In honor of manufacturing month, the American Mold Builder’s Association (AMBA) awarded it’s 2019 Educational Outreach Award to AMBA members who have made strong efforts to bring awareness to and increase interest in manufacturing and educational outreach in the manufacturing industry. The award is given to those champions who have made great strides in reaching out to their local communities and have strategically partnered with schools, programs and/or students to increase interest, raise awareness and build skills within the mold building industry. They awarded three members with prizes of $1000, $750, and $500 to donate toward the recipients’ educational program or institution of choice.
Westminster Tool was recognized for our consistent involvement in promoting and educating the community about the manufacturing industry. In particular, our involvement with the Moosup Elementary School Makerspace program, the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) and consistency in hosting approximately twelve local school tours per year. Westminster Tool was represented by Kimberly Coombs, who leads our recruitment and community engagements, for her efforts to promote manufacturing education within the Plainfield community. Kim received the AMBA’s third place prize of $500, which she chose to donate to her Alma Mater, H.H. Ellis Technical High School toward their SkillsUSA program.
SkillsUSA is a national membership association serving high school, college and middle school students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and for further education. It is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure the U.S. has a skilled workforce offering local, state and national opportunities for students to learn and practice personal, workplace, and technical skills. Ellis Tech’s local student run chapter participates in community service projects, student leadership activities, and district, state, and national conferences.
SkillsUSA hosts a national competition where student’s in trades compete regionally and nationally to display and develop their skills and drive their own success. More than 6,000 students compete in 100 occupational and leadership skill areas each June. These national technical competitions help establish industry standards for job skill training and entry-level workers. The SkillsUSA competition is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a successful model of employer-driven youth development training. In order to participate in the SkillsUSA competition, schools must raise funding to cover competition costs because it is not funded by the State Department of Education.
SkillsUSA program advisors Paula Roswell and Elliott Hayden have decided to earmark the donation to the chapters Mobile Robotics State competitors. The Vex Team, consisting of two Electronics students won the state competition last year and went on to compete at SkillsUSA Nationals in Louisville and ended up placing 14th in the country. The decision to funnel the funds into the Robotics competitions for CTSkillsUSA in March allows more student teams to compete and will allow underclassmen to participate and learn from the seniors in the competition.
On October 24th, Westminster Tool went to Ellis Tech to present them with Kim’s donation and to meet the students who would be benefiting from this donation. While we were there, we were able to see some of the robotics work they have done. Because the field of robotics is constantly growing and changing, participating in this program and keeping the students at the forefront of technology gives them an advantage and helps increase their employability – two things that we have consistently strived for our in our education advocacy.