Pa. Secretary of Education Tours Bosch Rexroth with Parkland High School Students
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The Manufacturers Resource Center and Dream It. Do It. Pennsylvania celebrated Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing Week on Wednesday by hosting Pedro Rivera, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, at Bosch Rexroth in Bethlehem.
Secretary Rivera toured the North Bethlehem facility with a group of students from Parkland High School for a modern day look at industry in the Lehigh Valley.
“Visiting Bosch Rexroth here today is the equivalent of going through a real-life, real-time learning lab,” Rivera said. “I think it’s important for students to see first-hand how manufacturing has evolved, the skill sets needed, and the excitement that you see within the workforce and within industry.”
Rivera remarked about the cleanliness of the Bosch Rexroth facilities, which represents an update of the antiquated, image many still have of the industrial sector, and served as a positive first impression for many of the students in attendance.
“Many of (the students) have had their first manufacturing experience in movies or what they imagined it to be, so they were all extremely surprised at how clean it is,” Rivera said. “It smelled good, and it wasn’t hot and sweaty in there. It was a nice experience for us all.”
Another refreshing discovery the students made is the presence of technology in today’s manufacturing sector. Rivera noted that the group had an opportunity to engage with the robotic technology at Bosch Rexroth for a first-person view of its use.
“That was exciting, just to see how technology drives the workforce,” Rivera said. “The opportunities they have are going to be beyond anything they’ve experienced now.”
Building for the future
Richard Cory, human resources manager of industrial hydraulics at Bosch Rexroth, acknowledged that today’s students will be dealing with all-new manufacturing technology by the time they are ready to enter the workforce. While that presents challenges when preparing students for careers in manufacturing, it also adds importance to continued communication with those students and all who reach them.
“We’re looking to make sure that the educators understand the technology that we have. For Bosch, it’s about manufacturing,” Cory said. “If we look at Bosch as a whole from STEM education, we’re heavily engineer-focused. Honestly, within the U.S., it’s a challenge to find the right kind of qualified engineers. Just to get those students into those programs is important.”
Karen Buck, project manager of Skill-Up the Student Pipeline, which includes initiatives like Dream It. Do It. Pennsylvania, noted the importance of effectively communicating with those students early.
“These students (at Bosch Rexroth) today are high school students, but a lot of times, our programs are geared toward middle school students, because they’re right at the cusp of trying to figure out what curriculums to take in high school,” Buck said.
This full-scale community effort to build the future of manufacturing in the Lehigh Valley is a piece of the greater picture in building Pennsylvania’s future, and is why PBS39 is proud to support and encourage STEAM learning in our region.
“STEAM education is important to ensure that all students in Pennsylvania have every opportunity for success,” said Teri Haddad, EdD, VP of production and education for PBS39. “PBS39 is proud to collaborate with the Manufacturers Resource Center, the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board and local companies like Bosch Rexroth to commit time, energy and resources for the success of students."