Several tours held in Western MA as part of Manufacturing Day - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Several tours held in Western MA as part of Manufacturing Day

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As part of the second annual Manufacturing Day, students from several area schools toured local manufacturing plants in Western Mass on Friday.

The industry is one that has continued to grow in recent years despite the struggling economy, which is why teachers like Nick Stevens who works at West Springfield High School say teaching students about the manufacturing industry is so important.

"Advanced manufacturing is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States right now so we want to make sure the kids know that that's an opportunity that's open to them," said Stevens.

Stevens took a group of students from West Springfield High School to Advanced Welding in West Springfield for a few hours Friday morning.

"What we are trying to do is get students to make connections with the business community early on so we can start to look at curriculum development and programs that can get the kids involved in advanced manufacturing," said Stevens.

Nine local tours, including the one to Advanced Welding, were held in the area throughout the day.

Manufacturing is a well-paid industry with many available career opportunities.

"Right now we are experiencing our fifth year of constant growth and the last five years have been a shaky economy, but for us - knock on wood - it's been good," said the President of Advanced Welding Christopher Kielb.

Kielb says it's important for him to break some of the old-school thoughts people might still have about the now high-tech industry.

"I do welding and people think of welding as a smoky, dirty, dingy type of trade as well as other types of manufacturing machining. But, as you can see, I have a quarter of a million dollar robot buzzing along behind us in the background and our shop is clean, well lit, and safe," said Kielb.

And, many of the students who attended said it was a good experience to see firsthand how the industry works.

"It's a way of us knowing what's around us, how it is made, how it's built," said West Springfield High School freshman Carlos Guzman.

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