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First Manufacturing Day Celebrated at William Penn University


The Applied Technology Division at William Penn University (WPU) hosted its first Manufacturing Day Event on October 4, 2019. The day-long program—which offered manufacturing plant tours, presentations from industrial employers, displays about products and career opportunities, a panel discussion with area employers, and a tour of the Industrial Technology facilities and programs at WPU—drew nearly 250 area high school students and teachers, WPU students, and 15 area employers.

Students and teachers traveled from BGM/HLV HS, Knoxville HS, Newton HS, Ottumwa HS, Pella HS, Pella Christian HS, South Tama HS, and Twin Cedars HS. Students from WPU also took the opportunity to learn more as the event “Put Modern Manufacturing on Display” rotated participants through three sessions of tours and presentations during the day. The lunch session, held in the Penn Activity Center, included a chance to visit the company displays and ask an employer panel questions about future trends in manufacturing, career paths, and how to be successful industry employees.

WPU student Ryan Epps said, “Attending Manufacturing Day was a fantastic experience.” He said, “You could be anything from a line worker in a factory, an accountant working with a company’s finances, to an engineer designing new prototypes for a product that will be produced by your company….no matter what your focus and skillset is, there is somewhere you can fit into the industry.”

One of the biggest takeaways from a Co-Line presentation for WPU student Carter Lucas was, “No matter what kind of degree or past experience you may have, as long as you are an energetic and polite person, your chance of getting hired after an interview increases dramatically.”

Other comments shared by students included:

  • “I would like two tours if time permitted.”
  • “Very satisfied with the presentations and the food was very good.”
  • “A ‘shout out’ to the Digital Impact Team presenters.”

Final comments summarize a reflection from Spencer Steele from WPU. “Manufacturing is not just a job you can go [to] day in and day out, day after day. You must have a passion for this field to be able to deal with the issues and problem-solving this career brings to the table,” said Steele. “Also, having a passion for your job makes it enjoyable to go to work.”

A big thank you goes to the participating industries: Ajinomoto, Cablevey Conveyors, Cargill, Church & Dwight Co., Inc., Clow Valve Company, Co-Line Welding, Cunningham, Inc., Interpower Corporation, Montezuma Manufacturing, Musco Sports Lighting, Oskaloosa Engineering & Manufacturing, Precision, Inc., Van Gorp Corporation, Vermeer Corporation, and Weiler, Inc. Representatives from these companies provided tours and handouts, made presentations, brought in manufacturing displays, sat on the discussion panel, and shared their passion for manufacturing with the students.

To learn more about this project and the Applied Technology Programs at WPU, contact James Smith, an instructor of Industrial Technology at 641-673-1098.

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