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Press Releases, News & Updates from Explore and all of our education efforts.

Fayette Institute of Technology Students Complete Manufacturing Innovation Challenge with Conn-Weld Industries, LLC.

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Explore the New Manufacturing is pleased to announce the completion of a Manufacturing Innovation Challenge involving Pre-engineering students from the Fayette Institute of Technology (FIT) and Conn-Weld Industries, LLC. The challenge required to create a 3D Model printed model of an 8’ x 20’ Triple Deck Circular Motion Incline components and assemble.  The challenge is hosted by Explore the New Manufacturing, an educational outreach program designed to provide West Virginia middle and high school students with topics focusing on manufacturing career pathways.

“It has been so rewarding for Conn-Weld to participate in Explore’s Manufacturing Innovation Challenge with Fayette Institute of Technology,” said Anna Semonco, Business Development Director at Conn-Weld.  “We are amazed by these talented students.  As a manufacturer, not only is it important for us to play a role in inspiring these young West Virginians' future careers, but we believe in doing so, we are laying the groundwork for an employment pool that is valuable to our future as well.  We want students to know about the opportunities right here in West Virginia and Explore the New Manufacturing helps us do that by connecting us with educators like Scott McDaniel’s pre-engineering class.” 

As part of the challenge, the FIT team presented their findings to Conn-Weld representatives. The students described the steps they undertook to develop their solution, which included utilizing the engineering design process. Each step in the design process has several steps within itself to develop a solution to complex engineering problems and the students went the engineering design process several times before they came up with a solution that they were happy with for their Manufacturing Innovation Challenge.

Participating FIT Students: Jesse Foster (Oak Hill High School), Mahayla Fox (Meadow Bridge High School), Emily Griffith (Oak Hill High School), Stephanie Kelley (Midland Trail High School), and Aubrey Sparks (Oak Hill High School).

“This Manufacturing Innovation Challenge with Conn-Weld is always a great project for my seniors to wrap up their 2-year program with me”, said Scott McDaniel, FIT Engineering Technology Instructor. “Conn-Weld does a great job providing them with a project that is very realistic in what they may encounter in the engineering industry.  Giving these students this real-world type of experience is incomparable.”

It has been so rewarding for Conn-Weld to participate in Explore’s M.I.C. with Fayette Institute of Technology.  We are amazed by these talented students.  As a manufacturer, not only is it important for us to play a role in inspiring these young West Virginians' future careers, but we believe in doing so, we are laying the groundwork for an employment pool that is valuable to our future as well.  We encourage other manufacturers to get involved with Explore the new manufacturing. It has proved very worthwhile to us and is one of the favorite things we do in our community. 

“Today’s high school students will be tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce in West Virginia, said Program Director Monica Cross, who oversees the Explore the New Manufacturing Program on behalf of the West Virginia Manufacturing Association Educational Fund’s efforts to create student awareness and excitement about careers in manufacturing and the training opportunities for these positions in their local areas. “We are excited to have the Fayette Institute of Technology and Conn-Weld Industries, LLC. team up for this year’s challenge. The real-world experience provides insight into a modern manufacturing environment that uses skills in technology, problem-solving, creativity, and communication that they have been developing in school.”

Explore's Manufacturing Innovation Challenge is designed to allow high school student teams to solve real-world manufacturing problems faced by West Virginia manufacturers. Each challenge is unique and can come from a variety of aspects of the company's operations.  Students learn how problem-solving skills are a critical element to job performance.  The challenge concludes with a formal team presentation, after which students and manufacturers discuss the feasibility of implementing the solution. The experience illustrates how teamwork, adaptability, and communication skills are used to implement the industry's solutions.

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