The ManuFest and More Manufacturing and Trades Expo brought 1,200 visitors — including more than 100 students from Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) and Colonial Middle School (CMS) — to The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks for a morning of career awareness and networking.
"I chose to come today, because I go to the tech school for the building trades," said Tyler Squires, a sophomore at PWHS. "I stopped at a lot of building and manufacturing booths, met a lot of nice people, got some business cards and have a lot of choices for when I get older."
The event included more than 70 local and regional employers from the manufacturing industry and construction trades, as well as representatives from schools that offer post-secondary technical training.
"I came here because I'm interested in making and building," said PWHS senior Noah Ehasz, who is planning on a career in mechanical engineering. "I hope to get connections out of this and further my interest in designing and making things."
Now in its sixth year, ManuFest and More also focused on giving students a better understanding of the different career pathways involved in manufacturing and trades, such as design, engineering, technology, production, sales, accounting, logistics, distribution and management
"I'm interested in all the things that are hands-on, like construction," said CMS eighth grader Deaglan Budd.
In addition to visiting area businesses and getting a better understanding of the available careers, the students also cycled through three activities: a Carpentry Project, a Welding Project and Team Building. For the Carpentry Project, the students watched two apprentice carpenters from Klover Contracting compete against each other to construct the same product. At the welding area, students tried a virtual reality welding helmet to create T-joints. For team building, the students split into small groups and were given a 20-minute time limit to construct a free-standing tower capable of supporting a particular object. A team from PWHS was declared the winner after completing the highest successful tower in the time given.
ManuFest and More is sponsored by Montgomery County, MontcoWorks, the Bucks County Workforce Development Board, the Manufacturing Alliance of Bucks & Montgomery Counties, MontcoWorks NOW (the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Workforce Development), IMET Corporation, The EF Precision Group, M&S Centerless Grinding, Bucks County Community College, Montgomery County Community College and Choice Careers.