High school students attend Manufacturing Day.Many high school students who participated in Moraine Valley Community College’s Manufacturing Day on Sept. 30, experienced and saw things for the first time while learning about a potential future career.

“I thought it’d be just a factory. It was really interesting,”said Eisenhower student Jaliyl Bruessard, who visited Panduit. “When we got there, we were told not to take pictures. It gives you an idea of how confidential and expensive everything was there. Not everyone can just go there.”

This is the first year Moraine Valley hosted the event since President Obama proclaimed Oct. 3 National Manufacturing Day in 2014. The college has ongoing relationships with the companies participating and created this collaboration.

More than 150 high school students from Richards, Shepard, Sandburg, Delta, Oak Lawn, Reavis, Andrew, Evergreen Park, and Eisenhower visited one of the following companies: UPS in Hodgkins, Panduit in Tinley Park, Salco Products, Inc. in Lemont, CNH Industrial in Burr Ridge, FedEx Ground Chicago Hub in Bedford Park, George E. Booth Co., Inc. in Romeoville, IBEW-NECA in Alsip, Magnet-Schultz of America in Westmont, and Atlas Tool & Die Works in Lyons.

Students from Reavis went to Atlas Tool & Die Works.

“I was interested, somewhat, before in this field. I learned a lot today, and it was interesting. The machines are actually really cool. And it was interesting to hear how much they get paid,” said Cristian Lopez.

Typically a nontraditional field for women, several female students noticed the lack of representation, but were happy to be introduced to this type of work.

“It’s unfortunate because there are a lot of women who want to do this kind of job, but think it’s just for men,” said Dymmond Sims, from Eisenhower. “This event gave me a sense of what my life could be as an engineer. I liked it. I wanted to see more going on.”

Jumana Juaba from Richards enjoyed her time at CNH Industrial.

“They’re so advanced. I didn’t think you could do some of this stuff. The whole time we were there my mouth was dropping. It was a nice experience. It gets us thinking about college.”

Following the field trips, students returned to Moraine Valley’s campus to hear from three people working in the field. Two of them—Anan Ayyad and Timothy Slawinski—are Moraine Valley alumni.

Ayyad works for ArcelorMittal, which he began as an internship while a student at Moraine Valley. He’s concurrently completing his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University Calumet. Slawinski works as a plant engineering maintenance mechanic apprentice at UPS. He acquired certificates at Moraine Valley while working in various positions at UPS. The third panelist was Dan Meyer, the Fab Lab manager at the Museum of Science and Industry.

“The event exceeded all expectations. Students enjoyed learning from and interacting with manufacturing engineers, technologists and business support staff,”said Panos Hadjimitsos, assistant dean of Science, Business and Computer Technology. “Accompanying counselors and teachers felt their students were able to connect the dots. Companies were impressed by the articulate questions from and undivided attention of the students. All sides look forward to a repeat in the near future.”