Students learn about local jobs

Published 9:27 am Thursday, October 11, 2018

By Jeanna Baxter White

To celebrate Manufacturing Day 2018, several local businesses and manufacturers provided a unique opportunity for Davie eighth-grade students.

On Oct. 5, students from Ellis, North Davie, and South Davie middle schools each toured two locations including DEX Heavy Duty Parts, Gildan,  Ingersoll Rand, Pro Refrigeration, DCCC – Davie Campus, and WFBH-Davie Medical Center – Bermuda Run. Other students from all three schools spent their tour-time experiencing facets of Ashley Furniture Industries.

This is the second year Davie has participated in National Manufacturing Day through the efforts of the Davie County Chamber of Commerce, Davie County Schools, Davie County Economic Development, DCCC, and the business community.

Approximately 500 students and staff were exposed to the career opportunities that exist here. Business leaders provided tours including examples of how their employees use math, science, technology, and communication skills.

Students were intrigued with the emphasis on safety, size of the facilities, variety of jobs including the educational requirements, and the machinery used in the day-to-day operations.

DCCC showcased career paths to students who toured healthcare-related hands-on learning stations as well as the mobile manufacturing lab, an ambulance, a fire truck, and a tractor trailer used for the truck driving program.

Manufacturing Day is a national event executed at the local level and typically focuses on manufacturing careers.

“We expanded the types of businesses students visited to better align the many opportunities available here in Davie. By adding our state-of-the-art medical facility in Bermuda Run and expansive career path offerings at DCCC, our event was truly a career exploration day for our students,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, a new workforce development initiative of Davie County Economic Development to connect businesses to resources and children to careers.

“Middle school students are the next generation workforce and these tours are designed to expose them to career opportunities, show how their current and future curriculum ties to real-world careers and ignite interest in their future,” McManamy said. “Businesses showcased the scope of jobs available and discussed the requisite higher education or skills training needed.”

“I thought it was interesting learning how the business works,” said Genesis Antunez, a student from South Davie.

“I liked seeing how the robots worked. It was really cool,” said South Davie student, Cadyn Tanis.

“Everyone worked so hard to give us the chance to see what their jobs are and to give us ideas of what we might want to do in the future,” said North Davie student, Anna Johnson.

Zach Cline, also from North Davie, agreed: “I appreciated seeing how hard everyone worked and realized how everything had a purpose.”

The teachers were equally impressed.

“From a teacher’s perspective, it was great to see and hear how technology, automation, and teamwork are being used and developed at Ashley Furniture,” said Jamey Holt, who teaches math/social studies at North Davie. “The students were able to see that the traits teachers stress will be vital to their role in the workplace.”

Kristin Pitts, a science/social studies teacher at South Davie, said: “It was interesting to see just how reliant each person is on the other people in their team. Without teamwork, production and higher wages would not be possible.”

“As a school district, it is our responsibility to make students aware of all educational and employment opportunities, and this collaborative effort is an excellent means to familiarize our students with the diverse careers available in Davie County,” said Anthony Davis, director of CTE and federal programs for Davie County High School.

“MFG Day was also a wonderful learning experience for our middle school teachers who saw first-hand the practical application of the skills they are teaching in the classroom.”

Business and industry participants appreciated the chance to showcase their facilities and career opportunities.

“Ingersoll Rand participated in Manufacturing Day because we want to inspire the next generation of manufacturers,” said Ashley Kern, human resources generalist.

Matt Britt, marketing manager, Davie & Lexington Medical Centers, said: “Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center passionately supports workforce development in any way we can. The youth in our county and the surrounding areas will be our health care workers of tomorrow, and we are proud to be able to invite them to our facility and show them some of what we do. We hope it has a positive impact on their future goals and endeavors.”

McManamy has been pleased with the feedback she has received from businesses as well as the students and teachers. She and Davis appreciate everyone who helped make MFG Day 2018 a success.

“This is the first in a series of programs that will directly connect our students to our businesses. The next steps will involve developing a formal program where students of various ages are exposed to a broad variety of career paths and educational opportunities. Aligning business needs with curriculum will ensure Davie County has a ready and able workforce to meet the challenges of businesses today and in the future.”