On March 11th, 2017 M&S Centerless Grinding participated in ManuFest - an event that offered regional manufacturing companies an opportunity to provide a good look at today's manufacturing to more than 200 high school students, parents and educators. Now in its fourth year, this event is gaining critical momentum  in reaching not only students, but the adults in their lives who can sometimes pose the greatest barriers for young people to choose manufacturing as a career.  Despite temperatures in the teens, and an early Saturday morning, students came out to hear Keynote speaker, John Shegda, President of M&S Centerless Grinding, and also the lead of the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Chapter of the NTMA, speak about how perceptions of manufacturing are quite different than reality.  

John’s  talk focused on the excellent opportunities that exist in the industry, and the wide-reaching impact that even a small manufacturing company can have in the world. Parents, teachers and students alike were challenged to think critically about their beliefs on  manufacturing, and their eyes were opened to technologies that help to eradicate glaucoma, and even produce water on the International Space Station.   

The most impactful moment of the presentation was when four young employees from the company shared  how they each arrived at a career in manufacturing. Their stories resonated with the students as they recounted how  positively  their choice has affected  their lives. They spoke of newfound direction and purpose as they explored a career  path that offers them opportunity beyond what they would have thought possible when they first started.

After the Keynote,  the audience had opportunity to attend breakout sessions on apprenticeships and different career opportunities in manufacturing, and could also explore the exhibit hall where they could talk face to face with leaders of 36 manufacturing companies from around the region while touching and feeling samples of what they produce.  The M&S Centerless Grinding volunteers had a great time interacting with the students and parents attending. 

Though eye-opening and inspiring, Manufest has become a tremendously important program to The Philadelphia region as a way to combat the increasingly dire situation that the  skills gap has created  for manufacturers in the area.