Recent Press

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Wood County Technical Center Students Complete Manufacturing Innovation Challenge With Micro Machine Works, Inc.

Parkersburg, WV, June 6, 2022 - Explore the New Manufacturing is pleased to announce the completion of a Manufacturing Innovation Challenge involving Integrated Production Technology students from the Wood County Technical Center and Micro Machine Works, Inc. The students' project was to automate and update a pill dye cleaner to be pharmaceutical grade and user friendly.  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.

“With pharmaceutic research and development testing, research scientists must sit down and clean pill dyes manually by hand. This is very inefficient. The repetitive nature of this task leads to carpal tunnel syndrome and also wastes time, and money.” Jared Voldness, Wood County Technical Center, pre-engineering and computer science teacher.

Participating Wood County Technical Center students: Lucian Baumgartner, Wyatt McCormick, Philip Richmond, Kyle Koch, Braxton Leisure, Michael Meyer, William Morrison, Riley Street, and Mason Westfall.

“We mistakenly think that young people are totally engulfed and lost in their cell phones and social media.  NOT TRUE!  Given the exposure and opportunity to participate in real world problem solving, they rise to the occasion and perform very well.  Do not underestimate today's young people.  Give them the tools and opportunities to excel and they will exceed your expectations.  We are very impressed with the leadership, team work, and skill sets of the Wood County Tech Center Students involved on this project.”  Linn Yost, owner, Micro Machine Works, Inc.

Participating Micro Machine Works employees:  Russ Kern and Linn Yost. 

“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 Carver Career & Technical Education Center and NGK Spark Plugs USA, Inc. to 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 actual 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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