The need to fill the skills gap is hitting home, as plastics industry trade groups and companies step up to the plate to provide thousands of dollars in scholarships. The SPE Milwaukee Education Foundation recently provided four $500 scholarships to Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC; Pewaukee, WI). Orbis Corp. of Oconomowoc, WI, provided two $500 scholarships, also to the WCTC. Progressive Components (Wauconda, IL) gave the WCTC a $250 scholarship.
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The SPE Milwaukee Section presented the Jack Hill Honoree Scholarship of $250 to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, as well as two additional $250 scholarships to the university. The University of Wisconsin – Madison also received two $250 scholarships from MGS Manufacturing Group (Germantown, WI). The SPE International Mold Technologies Division (Bethel, CT) gave a $250 scholarship to the University of Wisconsin – Stout, as well as two additional $250 scholarships to the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
The SPE International Mold Technologies Division also recently approved $2,500 to be given to UMASS Lowell to purchase CAT40 tooling for its new HAAS VF4 machine, dedicated to the production of prototype tooling, for its injection molding curriculum. Dunwoody College (Minneapolis, MN) was given $2,500 to build two small injection molds to test elastomers for its new program beginning in the fall of 2016. This program will allow mechanical engineers to test polymers within the two injection molds. Graduates of the program will become professional engineers.
Penn State Behrends College (Erie, PA) also will be given $2,500 to manufacture a universal mold base fixture that will allow smaller molds to run in its larger machine. It currently has small molds that will not run in the larger machines in the lab. This will give the college the ability to experiment with a larger array of molds.
The Plastics Pioneers Association (PPA; McHenry, IL) announced at its spring meeting in Tampa, FL, that the organization will give $53,000 in scholarships this year. Ten $3,000 scholarships are available each year to students who are studying to become “hands-on” employees in the plastics industry. Additional scholarships are available, including a $3,000 scholarship from Wolfgang Meyer.
I’m sure many more companies and trade groups are contributing to plastics education to keep the industry strong and advancing in innovation and productivity. Thank you to all of these companies and trade groups who recognize the value of educating the next generation of the plastics industry workforce. Let’s keep up the good work!