Mayfield Plastics Participates in Program to Educate Students on Manufacturing Careers
Mayfield Plastics officials have recently announced the company’s participation in the “AMP It Up! Grant, which will introduce science, technology, engineering, and math teachers – for Grades 7-12 in 10 Blackstone Valley school districts in Massachusetts – to career options in advanced manufacturing. The goal is to bolster the prospective employee base for these skilled jobs by raising awareness among adults who influence teens’ lives.
Mayfield is one of a of a handful of local manufacturers working with the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation on a recent grant from MassDevelopment, through the Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to help schools prepare students for the future workforce. Mayfield Plastics is a leading thermoforming supplier servicing medical, industrial, and electronic markets.
“Mom and Dad typically think that manufacturing is working in some grease pit somewhere. They think if you do not go to school and get a bachelor’s degree, you’re nothing. That is a myth. A degree is not a career,” states Harrison Greene, vice president of growth and development, Mayfield Plastics.
Greene says today’s high school students and their parents have outdated views of manufacturing and shy away from what is a solid and growing sector of the economy.
Entry-level pay in manufacturing is typically higher than in retail and service sectors, starting at $14 to $18 per hour and moving up to $22 to $25 per hour. A highly skilled position like tool designer pays upward of $50,000 or more, Greene says. His company also provides health and retirement benefits.
According to Paul Lynskey, executive director of the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation, the $10,000 grant will include visits to manufacturers by middle and high school teachers and counselors; a local conference to hear from business leaders about employment opportunities in manufacturing and required skills; weeklong summer externships with stipends for teachers and counselors at local manufacturers; and outreach at participating schools to provide information to other faculty, students and families about manufacturing careers.
Lynskey states that 70% to 80% of graduating high school students go on to college. He wants to reach the roughly 30% percent who do not. Their main options, he says, include retail, service jobs, or manufacturing.
“That is where my competition is. It is not convincing parents they are not sending their kid to college. The connection we need to make is with the local manufacturers and businesses and define the skills they need. This business is all about quality,” according to Greene.
Not only do his customers demand quality production, but they also want on-time delivery and outstanding customer service.
“Businesses and industries that buy from us are buying American,” Greene notes. “The threat is they will not be able to continue to buy American because we cannot find skilled labor.”