Molding New Talent
In response to a growing national skilled labor shortage, we are leading the way in workforce training, career development, and community educational outreach through an innovative high school program. The GW Plastics’ School of Tech program offers local high school students the opportunity to enroll in a semester-long for-credit course that exposes them to the world of advanced manufacturing.
Local students are bused to our state-of-the-art facilities three times each week and taught by our tooling, automation, and molding professionals. The class begins with basic business and manufacturing exposure and then progresses through the entire manufacturing process, including material selection, pricing, mold design, mold making, injection molding, and quality.
Rural Vermont. It’s not where you’d expect to find one of the world’s leading plastics companies and one of the region’s most advanced manufacturers. But nestled in the beautiful Green Mountains, GW Plastics is not only innovating for some of the most successful companies, it’s investing in the future of local high school students, with a career development program like no other.
“There’s a real need for skilled workers, especially in the area of advanced manufacturing. That’s where our School of Tech comes in. It’s almost impossible to find a high school shop class that provides the kind of training that we need in our industry. So we launched our own school. It’s a unique learning opportunity for high school students. And the results have been incredible!”
Twice a week for an entire semester, local students visit GW’s state-of-the-art facilities for hands-on interaction with some of the most advanced equipment and knowledgeable experts in the field.
“Most of these kids haven’t been in a manufacturing environment before, and it’s a real eye opener for them. They get the kind of real world experience that they just can’t get in the classroom. And if it’s something they want to pursue after graduation, we’d love to have them join our team and we’ll work with them to develop a career path. That’s what the School of Tech is all about.”
Students experience an across-the-board introduction to the world of advanced manufacturing. Everything from product design, precision tooling, injection molding, automation, quality assurance – even general business skills. And it all fits in with their high school education requirements.
“We started the program in 2015 after two years of planning with local, state and school officials.”
“When I got the opportunity offered at my school – I jumped on it – I like it.”
“I had no idea that these product were made so close to my home town and that they shipped all around the world.”
“And the best part is they receive full academic credit for completing our School of Tech curriculum while learning on-the-job skills that they wouldn’t otherwise have gotten in school.”
One of the most popular sessions each semester is a stop at nearby Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, Vermont. It’s a unique opportunity to see experienced healthcare professionals in action and witness firsthand the use of life-saving medical devices designed and manufactured by GW Plastics.
“I think it’s a wonderful program and I think this is something that we particularly in small rural areas need to find ways to do more of.”
“I don’t know of any other program like it in the state. I think it’s an excellent opportunity for them to see a process from beginning to end – including how it’s used in the real world.”
“You take somebody you mold them into something and you give them ideas. Once you have ideas you give them tools to get there and they become incredible – and they help everybody.”
“We’re able to reach these kids at a time when they’re trying to decide what they want to do with their career. Provide them with the opportunities; provide them with the training it builds back a dedicated workforce that hopefully will be here for a long time to come. GW Plastics is right here in their home area creating world-class components for the healthcare industry. That is an eye opening experience. It hits on all the components of building community and its a great program and we are just so happy to be a part of it.
“I’ve seen kids leave here with a whole new perspective on what they want to do after graduation. It’s a great program and a win-win for everyone involved. I’m a big fan.”
The School of Tech isn’t just about learning skills and testing the waters of manufacturing. It’s about enabling students in a holistic way – to think, explore, experience and tie it all together in a way that can shape their future.
“How you bring an idea to life. Most of our engineers, a lot of our mechanically inclined students, really like to work in practicality they like to work with actual problems and here that is all that’s going on. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to see engineering design at work. And that can be very exciting.”
“When you have actual engineers, expecting them to perform engineering tasks – that changes the whole game. It makes it real. Because it is real. It’s good to see that lamp of learning lit like this program.”
“Our investment in these students and commitment to this program runs deep. We’re thrilled to help our students to hit the ground running with the necessary skills to be successful after graduation. It’s important for our community, it’s important for our State, and it’s important for our company and it can be life-changing for our students.”
If you’d like to learn more about the GW Plastics School of Tech, contact us today.
Let’s create something together… right here in Vermont.
What Makes the School of Tech Special?
Our program includes actual interaction with advanced machine tools, molding machines, and other technologies instead of just classroom instruction. In addition, students also spend time at a local hospital to see our healthcare products used in real life and learn about the ramifications if a device is not manufactured to the highest level of quality. Our holistic program makes students think in a more sustainable and global manner, ultimately creating experienced and knowledgeable young professionals.
The School of Tech has grown in popularity each semester, and our most recent semester took the program a step further by not only studying manufacturing techniques, but also designing, manufacturing, and selling their product at their high school. This real-life process helps the students understand everything from concept through production, including the satisfaction of bringing a product to market.