Article featured on Plastics Today website, Luring today’s high school students into manufacturing, by Clare Goldsberry.
“Craig Porter, president and owner of PlastiCert, a custom molding company in Lewiston, MN. Porter has a 33-year-long career in plastic injection molding design and manufacturing services, and as he told me recently: “It’s perplexing. And it’s going to get worse.”
Porter is trying to do something about developing talent in his area. Recently, he hosted the 9th Grade Career Readiness Class from Lewiston-Altura High School. “These freshman students are learning about different careers and what is necessary to prepare for them,” said Porter.
Touring PlastiCert – a molder for industrial control products, telecommunications, avionics, HVAC parts, even fishing lures – allowed the students to see the workings of a manufacturing company, something that few of them knew anything about, given that Lewiston is a mostly rural area with an agricultural economy. Porter stressed that while there are the obvious positions directly making plastic and composite parts and assemblies, there are many indirect jobs that support the manufacturing function such as purchasing, production planning, shipping and receiving, inventory control, accounting, sales and marketing and IT opportunities…
“The pool of possible employees is getting smaller,” Porter stated. “The young people today are of a different mindset. They want to learn but don’t want to put out too much to learn it.”
To bend a bit to the “new” worker, PlastiCert operates on a ‘flextime’ schedule. “Life has gotten pretty demanding so we find that having a flexible workplace helps. We won an award for having a flexible work place from a group called ‘When Work Works.’ We can get what we need from the employees, but the employees can get what they need as well.”
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From PlastiCert’s Website:
PlastiCert played host to a group of high school students learning about different careers and what is necessary to prepare for them. The Lewiston area is mostly an agricultural economy, so agriculture related support equipment and services are most familiar to them. Touring PlastiCert allowed them to see the workings of a manufacturing company. When queried, very few of the students knew anything about what careers are available other than just “making things.”
PlastiCert President & Owner Craig Porter started out orienting the students as to what types of careers are available in a manufacturing company. He stressed that while there are the obvious positions directly making plastic and composite parts and assemblies, there are a myriad of “in-direct” and some non-technical opportunities that support the manufacturing function. He talked about purchasing, production planning, shipping and receiving, inventory control, human resources, accounting, sales and marketing, and information technology opportunities. All of these positions he emphasized, perform their functions so that the people that make the product, have what they need. He then led the group of students on a tour of the injection molding floor as well as in the molding machine shop. Porter covered the principles behind plastic injection molding, the equipment used, the different plastics and composites, the molds and their design and build. They discussed the education and training utilized by the various personnel on the floor, and the types of customers and their products being manufactured.
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