Posted by Paula Hynes | 02 / 26 / 14 0 Comments

Filling the education gap

There has been much discussion about the need for quality STEM education and skilled workers.  Both go hand-in hand.  Many companies today complain that they can’t find people with the aptitude needed to work in a modern manufacturing facility.  Unlike many European countries, the apprenticeship opportunities in the U.S. have fallen to the wayside.  So, our high schools are filling the gaps in education and experience.  These schools are doing an outstanding job of taking on the challenge. 

STEM education in the suburban Philly region.

In the Philadelphia metro area, we are blessed to have some top notch technical high schools and programs.  We encourage these high schools students to continue their education and training in STEM related fields.  We know the opportunities in manufacturing are plentiful and financially rewarding.

Student tour of The Rodon Group manufacturing facility and Baxter from Rethink RoboticsThe Rodon Group is always willing to host school tours of our facility.  Recently, students from the Chester County Technical College High School’s Electronics & Robotics program spent time at our factory.  The tour was led by Lowell Allen, Senior V.P. of Manufacturing and Kevin McGrath, V.P of Sales and Marketing.  The students were particularly interested in learning more about the robotic applications in manufacturing.  Our new adaptive manufacturing robot, Baxter received a great deal of attention. 

This particular program at CCTCHS not only provides a strong academic foundation at the high school level, but allows students the opportunity to take up to 12 college level credits.  Graduates are well prepared to enter the field or continue on to receive additional education. We know they have bright futures ahead.Students from Chester County Technical College High School

One of our mandates is to support STEM education and the pursuit of STEM careers. The Rodon Group has developed its own apprenticeship program. Students are given the opportunity to learn tool and die making in a hands-on environment.  These future industrial technologists must have a strong background in math and science skills.  Coursework in metal working and machining is also very desirable.  From there, Rodon will help develop the manufacturing skills needed for tomorrow's innovative manufacturing environment.

Recently, one of our Tool Room CNC engineers, Alan Jesiolowski, was asked to participate in a video produced by the North Montco Technical Career Center.  The message from Alan was simple.  Get the right training and the right experience and you will have a job for life.

Alan Jesiolowski from The Rodon Group on Apprenticeship Training

The North Montco Technical Career Center has a clear mission statement.  They are “dedicated to delivering technical and academic programs that meet the needs of our students and prospective employers. This will be accomplished through a perpetual improvement system that ensures stakeholders an educated, competent individual capable of contributing to the welfare of the community.”  This commitment resonates with many manufacturing companies looking for well-developed and educated graduates.

The need for talented manufacturing students is great

STEM Education and workforce development provide students today with the skills they’ll need to obtain good jobs in the future—the very skills that employers need.  Without tech-savvy workers, the number of unfilled manufacturing jobs will increase.

At K’NEX & Rodon, we’ve seen firsthand the resurgence of local manufacturing. Our investment in advanced technology and more efficient equipment have given us a competitive edge over overseas manufacturers, so we are well poised in this new economic environment. We need employees who have the ability to use this technology. 


We are fortunate to have such strong educational partners in our area.   Here is a list of Technical High Schools in the Tri-County Philly Metro area of Bucks, Montgomery and Chester Counties.

Lower Bucks County – Bucks County Technical High School

Upper Bucks County – Upper Bucks County Technical High School

Northern Montgomery County - North Montco Technical Career Center

Central Montgomery County - Central Montco Technical High School

Chester County - Chester County Technical College High School – Various campuses

To follow the latest trends on STEM education and manufacturing employment and become involved in supporting education and apprenticeships, join the Bux-Mont Manufacturing Consortium Group on LinkedIn.

 What types of apprenticeships does your company offer. Post your comments below.





Topics: Plastic Injection Molding, STEM and Manufacturing Careers, The Rodon Group