How can a Styrofoam cup filled with shaving cream steer kids toward lucrative careers in high-tech manufacturing jobs?
Representatives of Edwards Vacuum, of Albany, placed the cup in a chamber and used one of their vacuums to suck out the air at Manufacturing Day at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Marcy on Friday, an event meant to interest middle and high school students in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
With the air gone, air bubbles in the shaving cream were able to expand, explained Matt Kowalski, applications engineer. So the cream foamed up like root beer on steroids, but without spilling over the sides of the cup.
"We just like to talk to the kids, get them excited about science and technology," said Adam Stover, applications manager.
More than 700 area middle and high school students, many of them wearing green Indium Corporation T-shirts; a couple hundred community members; and a group of Fort Drum soldiers turned out for the event that featured booths manned by more than 30 New York state manufacturers, many of them from the Mohawk Valley, and area colleges that train students for manufacturing jobs.
"It’s really kind of turning them on to careers in STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields," said event organizer Kate Alcott, associate director of the SUNY Poly-based Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center. "And every single one of the manufacturers here has openings."
For the first time this year, Manufacturing Day was followed by an opportunity for college students to talk with company representatives about jobs and about internships.
"Unfortunately these companies can’t wait for these high school kids. … That’s why they’ve opened it up," Alcott said.
Several students asked employees of Revere Copper in Rome whether the company makes pennies or pots and pans. It does not, but employees highlighted what the company does make, such as architectural copper and copper products for electrical, telecommunications and air conditioning systems.
"Coming to events like this is great because a lot of students didn’t know we were in Rome or they heard of us, but didn’t know we were still open," said Carl Kilborne, manager of engineering.
Now, he said, students know that they can find good, local jobs in Rome.
Contact reporter Amy Neff Roth at 315-792-5166 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Roth).