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Students Discuss Manufacturing Jobs

SOUTH CENTRE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- There are many kinds of equipment inside the technology lab at Central Columbia High School near Bloomsburg. With this equipment, students are able to make things and learn about engineering and manufacturing.

On this day, students got to show off their technology lab. A representative from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, or SME, was at the school. Central Columbia partnered with SME to bring manufacturing equipment and hands-on training to the school.

"To really give exposure to careers in manufacturing and engineering throughout the nation," Heather Cooper said.

The partnership has been in place for about a year and a half. It has allowed the school to buy specialized equipment such as a precision measurement. Now, students can be certified in certain skills before they graduate high school.

"It's a skill they can take straight to the job force right away, right out of high school, or they can take it to a secondary, post-secondary school, whether it's a two or four-year program," Eric Smith said.

To make sure the students learn the most modern manufacturing processes, the school district partnered up with several area companies, including Kawneer.

Axel Heimrich is plant manager for Kawneer in Bloomsburg. The company makes windows and doors, among other things. Heimrich sees an increased interest in manufacturing jobs.

"A program like this really I think will excite people and will open their eyes to what manufacturing nowadays is really about," Heimrich said.

The students believe the program is helpful. Nathaniel Mathias will soon study industrial engineering at Penn State University.

"Through the industry partners, through all of the resources we have here in the shop, from our equipment and our teachers in general," Mathias said.

District officials say they plan to keep adding more equipment to the technology lab through the end of the next school year.

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