Recent Press

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

Explore the New Manufacturing Announces the Winner for the Kanawha Valley Region Manufacturing Innovation Challenge

Explore the New Manufacturing is pleased to announce the  Kanawha Valley Region Manufacturing Innovation Challenge Award was presented to Putnam Career & Technical Center for their project with Toyota West Virginia. The company challenged the students to develop a method for preventing a potential ergonomic issue in the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) installment process of the Short-Block Sub-Assembly at Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia (TMMWV).  The PCTC team is comprised of Project Lead the Way Pre-Engineering students.

“From the time these students were presented with the problem until completion, they worked very hard, “ stated Ben Underwood, Production Engineer for the TNGA Assembly at Toyota West Virginia. “The students were receptive and accepting of coaching and constructive criticism. They worked hard to use the Toyota tools they were taught to break down and solve the problem.  I worked with these students as the Toyota representative and have been very impressed with their personal growth throughout the duration of the project. They presented very well to our management team here and I am very proud of them.”

Next up for the team is the state competition, where they will represent the Kanawha Valley Region to see who will be named the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge 2024 State Champion.  The Putnam Career & Technical Center will be competing against four other regional champions. The winner will be announced on May 28th as part of Explore the New Manufacturing's Virtual State Awards Ceremony.

PCTC team members: Ben Smith, Cole Richardson, Hayden Miller, Henry Foster, Nick Winter, Sam Edgemon, and Tanner Foster 

Education leader: Cheryll Roberts

Toyota support team: Ben Underwood, David Newberry, and George Gannon. 

“Today’s high school students will be tomorrow’s manufacturing workforce in West Virginia, said Executive Director Monica Cross, who oversees the Explore the New Manufacturing Program’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 Putnam Career & Technical Center and Toyota West Virginia team up for this year’s challenge. This is the second year the team has captured the regional award.”

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 various 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.

Program Sponsors

Major financial underwriting is provided by

Upcoming Dates

28 May
STATE AWARDS Virtual Ceremony
Date 05.28.2024
5 Jun
Educator Roundtable
06.05.2024
23 Jul
WVMA-EF Board Dinner
07.23.2024 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
24 Jul
WVMA-EF Board Retreat
07.24.2024 7:30 am - 8:30 am

Updates from Explore

Contact us and get involved!

Interested in getting involved with the Explore the New Manufacturing Program?

We are looking for manufacturers, schools, teachers, and community members to
help us expand our efforts throughout West Virginia.

Help us by answering a few questions.